The New York Times - In Howard Schultz’s 1997 book about developing Starbucks, he wrote, “Nothing pains me more than hearing critics compare Starbucks to a chain of discount stores or fast-food operations.”
On Tuesday, the man who set out to improve Americans’ taste in coffee, unveiled instant coffee bearing the Starbucks brand. Packages of Via Ready Brew will appear in Starbucks shops in Seattle and Chicago on March 3, the same day that Starbucks will begin offering breakfast value meals in stores nationwide.
Selling instant coffee and serving value meals might sound more like the purview of an American convenience store and less like that of an Italian espresso bar. Water-soluble coffee is a gamble, marketing analysts said. It could lure customers who drink fast-food or grocery store coffee, or it could water down the Starbucks brand.
But Mr. Schultz said he was ready for the critics who say, “This is desperate, this is a Hail Mary pass, this is off-brand for Starbucks.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/18/business/18sbux.html
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