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Changes at Starbucks: lipstick on a pig?

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I have to say, I'm impressed by the latest moves at Starbucks. Founder and CEO Howard Schultz announced that they're going to switch to new machines which will grind espresso beans right before making each shot. Just one catch: these new machines will be rolled out in three-quarters of Starbucks stores by 2010. Yikes. It's like trying to turn the Titanic after it's already struck an iceberg. Starbucks also acquired Clover, which makes a coffee machine that costs $11,000. The Clover is the machine of choice at Cafe Grumpy, which I've blogged about before, and which makes a phenomenal cup of coffee (that can cost up to $6).

The bottom line: if Schultz wants these changes to have any affect on Starbucks' share price, he better roll the new machines out sooner rather than later. And it wouldn't hurt to install one of those Clovers in the locations near Wall Street first. That'll appease the financial types. The fact that my office is also near Wall Street is only a happy coincidence.

What do you think? Is this step one in a turnaround?

Last updated: Mar 19, 2008




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