24/7 Wall St. Starbucks Store Evaluation Tour Back In NY

Peter Lynch, who had one of the great investment track records while at Fidelity once made this point:  “An amateur investor can pick tomorrow’s big winners by paying attention to new developments at the workplace, the mall, the auto showrooms, the restaurants, or anywhere a promising new enterprise makes its debut.”

And  Howard Schultz, the founder of Starbucks (SBUX), recently wrote to his management: “Over the past ten years, in order to achieve the growth, development, and scale necessary to go from less than 1,000 stores to 13,000 stores and beyond, we have had to make a series of decisions that, in retrospect, have lead to the watering down of the Starbucks experience, and, what some might call the commoditization of our brand.” 

24/7 Wall St. is setting out to test the Lynch investment approach, and to find out if Mr. Schultz does have a problem Our writers will visit at least one Starbucks a day at 7.30 AM to 8.30 AM local time. We will look at stores in over a dozen cities. Each outlet will be graded on the time it takes from getting in line until the order is delivered, cleanliness of the store, cleanliness of the bathroom, whether the store has adequate seating, the friendliness and professionalism of personnel, whether their is adequate inventory, and overall ambiance. Each of these will be grade 1 though 3, with 3 being the best score.

Locations: New York City, corner of 92nd Street and Third Avenue. 8.20 AM. Wait time: 2 minutes, 55 seconds with three people in line. Cleanliness-1, Bathroom–1. Seating–2, Staff-2, Inventory–3, Ambiance–2.

Store is located in one of Manhattan’s busy up-scale neighborhoods. Store was just shy of filthy. Store is small, but has adequate seating. Staff was efficient, but not friendly.

Douglas A. McIntyre

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