Business Edge

Lessons from the Starbucks Philadelphia Saga

Customer service

Hello, I have been reading great business books lately, and one that has really helped build my business acumen is ‘Built to last’ by Jim Collins. In the book, Jim and his friend Jerry took time to advice managers, entrepreneurs, CEOs etc on the need to always institutionalize their culture and core values.

By now, we have all heard about the preposterous incident that occurred at a Philadelphia Starbucks. Last week, two black men entered the Starbucks asking to use the bathroom as they waited for someone, and were denied. When they sat to wait for their friend, a Starbucks employee called the police on them…

It is not easy to build a visionary company that will outlive the founder, companies that have thrived over the years have learnt to always remind all the stakeholders of what it stands for, be it culture or set values.

Good Enough Never Is: A continual process of relentless self-improvement with the aim of doing better and better, forever into the future (stimulates progress). _Jim Collins.

What could have gone wrong in the Starbucks Philadephia saga, could it be that, the system does not have a continual process of relentless self-improvement with the aim of doing better and better… or the management have become complacent because business is thriving.



  • Always find ways and time periodically to remind and imbibe the culture of the organization in the staff, irrespective of position.
  • Core values should not be a decorative frame on the wall, always remind them to live it.
  • Customer service/experience does not start at the point of striking a deal or at the point of purchase, it starts from when a customer walks into your shop, whether or not he buys from you. You never know what the impression you live will do in your business thereafter.
  • Every person who walks into your shop is a potential customer, treat them well.
  • It’s a digital world, be courteous with your utterances and how you treat people. Else the whole world will call you out, and the effect this will have on your brand might be devastating.
  • Why spend so much on Crisis resolution via PR when you could have avoided the issue by simply being more careful.
  • Prevention they say is better than cure, do not wait to remedy a situation that you could have had under your control…


I read somewhere that on May 29th, Starbucks will be training all their staff across America on racial bias. Well it might interest you to know that revenue will be affected on this said date. This saga would have been avoided if the management had been proactive in preserving their core values…

Leave a Comment

2 × four =