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Starbucks International Case Study

Autor:   •  November 11, 2015  •  Case Study  •  1,140 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,201 Views

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M. Katie Williams

October 21, 2015

International Marketing

W 5:30pm        

Starbucks Case

Starbucks is a company that has made its name known worldwide. As of June 2015, there were over 22,500 Starbucks locations throughout the world.  Founded in 1971, the brand is now ranked number 45 in Forbes’ most innovative brand and number 52 in the world’s most valuable brands. It took the company twenty-five years after the first store opened for the company to go international.

        The road to international success was (and still has yet to become) easy for the company. Starbucks opened its first international stores in 1996. The new locations were in both Japan and Singapore. From then on, the store continued to routinely open new locations throughout the United States and varying countries. Within the United States, nearly two-thirds of the stores are company owned, leaving the other one-third operated by licensees. Outside of the United States, these statistics are reversed; leaving the majority of international Starbucks operated by licensees or partnerships in which Starbucks has equity stakes. I believe that this difference is one of the ways Starbucks has been able to achieve international success.

America is a country which generally accepts corporations and corporate standards. America also highly values consistency. Big companies, such as McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Walmart, and Starbucks are able to succeed because of their consistency. A McDonald’s in Tennessee is strikingly similar to one located in New York, regardless of their distance. The same can be said for Starbucks within the United States. Store policies are all the same. The stores are all run so similarly, Starbucks within the same area can rotate employees on a daily basis. If one store is short staffed, any of the other local Starbucks can supply an employee to help out. (Information was obtained by a close friend that has worked at several different Starbucks locations.)

While such similarities are accepted within the United States, the same cannot be said for other countries. Going international is a difficult process. Even with mounds of research and statistics, no one person or company is capable of transferring smoothly. A corporation cannot simply move their managers from a store in the United States to a store located oversees and expect the transition to work well. The procedures widely accepted in American culture may not work other places. The problem solving methods learned here may not transfer or be the best possible methods in other places. Licensing the Starbucks brand to locals within different countries is a much better solution for the company. Instead of corporate heads running the business from their headquarters in Seattle, Washington, an owner can operate the location from within the store itself. The licensee will be much more familiar with the customs, routines, and problem solving methods located in their country. While they licensees still have to follow set values and guidelines assigned from Starbucks (called Standards), they have more freedom in operating the store. They are able to ensure success for the company more so than the company itself could.


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