Starbucks Delivery Service Overshadowed By #RaceTogether

Starbucks are trying hard to push the boundaries and appeal to everyone by promoting a new delivery service and attempting to talk about race – two incredibly different strategies that should theoretically give them a great platform for reaching plenty of customers that have actually lead to an unwelcome reaction. The prospect of the Green Apron delivery service will be highly appealing to a certain market but many customers are still focused on the fallout of #RaceTogether.

A Starbucks delivery programme is a novel idea that could work if handled well.

Starbucks was the big name in coffee houses when the revolution first began and it was that star name and recognisable shade of green that overseas coffee enthusiasts looked forward to. Since then, Starbucks has become a global sensation and the market has become saturated with other big names and local suppliers trying to add their own blends and atmosphere to city centres. As a result, it is difficult for Starbucks to keep up and this idea of a new delivery service is an intriguing idea for the millions of workers that desire something better than their office coffee machine. One of the services will go by the uninspired name of ‘Green Apron” and be targeted at high-rise buildings – hence the trial at the Empire State Building. A green apron store will serve one building exclusively and the barista will deliver the coffee, ordered via an app, straight to the customer.

Customers want good coffee and pleasant conversation, not politics and awkwardness.

The decision to trial the delivery service at the Empire State Building is surely no more than an attempt to grab some extra publicity, and they could certainly do with a bit more positive press after the recent incident surrounding #RaceTogether. The sole purpose of a hash tag is to go viral, so Starbucks must have expected plenty of attention from this campaign to promote race, but they probably did not expect so much laughter and derision. The decision by the senior vice president of communications to delete his Twitter account certainly suggests so. The idea was that Starbucks baristas would engage with customers about race issues and highlight problems but, as many critics have pointed out on social media, this is the last thing that they want to do in a coffee house and there are enough questions being asked about the coffee as it is without one about African-American politics thrown in at the end.

As the company goes through the fine print on the Green Apron program, they are considering the experience of being served a coffee at a desk and the personal experience that will provide, even going as far as considering the emotional response that it will evoke. Presentation is vital with coffee and the conversation with the barista is an important part of the experience of going to a coffee house for many people, but perhaps it is best that the staff steer clear of the bigger issues like race and avoid putting hash tags on those green aprons.



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