Last year, Howard Schultz, the guy who is largely responsible for making Starbucks what it is today, wrote a memo to then-CEO Jim Donald saying the chain had lost its way. For that, we named him soul-searcher of the year. It turns out the company's board agrees--they just ousted McDonald and put Schultz back in the corner office. Schultz thinks Starbucks needs to create a more personal experience for its customers. This is an interesting development, in light of my post below, where I wrote about the reasons why independent coffee shops have flourished despite--and, to some extent, because of--Starbucks' expansion. Check out the comments that readers had about my post--there are some interesting personal stories that illuminate the benefits and drawbacks of Starbucks.
My personal suggestion to Howard Schultz: bring back comfy chairs.