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Starbucks is the most well known coffee shop. Like, ever. The first store opened in the 1970's. The name doesn't come from the expensive beverages sold in store but from Herman Melville’s famous novel-Moby Dick. (So famous that my spell checker failed to check the word Moby)
Starbuck is a character in the novel that serves as first mate on the whaling ship Pequod,under the command of the insane Captain Ahab. Starbuck tries to put an end to Ahab's obsessive hunt for Moby-Dick, but loyal at the last, he dies at sea with Ahab and his crew after a final battle with the great whale. Cheerful stuff.
Starbucks now has more than 6,000 locations in over 30 countries.
Starbucks came to the UK in 1998 when it took over Seattle Coffee Company.
Locations: These stores are everywhere. My local is in Borders Books and Music. Recently in London I was caffeine deprived and was praying to find a Starbucks…and then one appeared in front of me, through the rain and mist I saw the famous green logo. London has so many Starbucks. They are everywhere.
What they serve: Um…lots of coffee obviously. So many choices so little time. There is an expresso, caffe Americano, caffe latte, cappuccino, caffe mocha, caramel macchiato and freshly brewed filter coffee. They do tea and herbal tea as well which is known as ‘Tazo tea.’ And cold drinks know as ‘Frappucino’s and iced coffee’s. The coffee is freshly brewed and whole bean. There is also a wide range of cold drinks.
Food-pastries, muffins and cakes. Yummy. The ‘rocky road’ is particularly nice. They sell so many sandwiches such as free-range egg, dolphin friendly tuna, chicken pesto, prawn, ham, ploughman’s, and the Club. And of course the wide range of hot panini’s. They have healthy range food as well such as low fat sandwiches, skinny drinks and muffins.
One can also buy the Starbucks mug (some people actually steal the one they’ve had the drink served in though,) coffee machines and coffee beans.
At Christmas they do Gingerbread Latte’s and Chocolate Mint Latte’s. They are so scrumptious.
Ethics: Starbucks says that they have social responsibility. They promote fair trade coffee and recycling.
Prices: Not cheap I’m afraid. Take out is cheaper, saves you around 20p (ish) on each product. To eat in, a regular drink is around £1.90, a sandwich around £2.75; a hot panini around £3.40 and the cakes vary from £1.40 to around £2.40. As staff at another outlet within Borders I get the food for a cheaper price and free hot drinks. Yay!
Quality: Delicious, fresh and filling.
My favourite things: cappuccino, white chocolate latte, rocky road and white chocolate and raspberry muffin.
Staff: In general, very friendly, almost bordering on forced friendly. They can’t really be that cheerful right? Right. They moan as much as any retail worker when they’re not on the shop floor about the annoying customers they encounter. And who can blame them? A lot of them have a real passion for the company though and love their jobs. They are mostly cheerful and outgoing even in ‘real life’ though. They all wear green aprons. In the evenings when the shop is quiet they can be heard talking quite loudly about their personal lives! Service is quick. These barista’s work so so hard so please, customers, smile back at them and there is no need to be rude and stuck-up. The company mission clearly states that they treat their staff very well. All the staff I’ve encountered seem to get on well with each other and work together excellently.
Inside the store: The décor is very green! The floors are always wooden with some carpet areas. There are wooden tables and chairs and also cosy sofas. I hate sitting there in my Paperchase uniform having customers gawp at me (yes I’m a real person, I require food as well) so I sit in the staff room. It is often crowded though by the evening it goes very quiet. In Borders, Starbucks is up on the balcony. So the customers can look down on the shop at you working. Luckily my till is by a wall so I can stand there and not be seen.
Queues: There is a queue mentality. People go out on a Saturday afternoon…and join a long queue. And then moan about how long it is. And no, I don’t get to barge in even though I have a limited lunch break so now I don’t anymore, sometimes it can take 20 minutes to get served as it’s so busy and even though there are lots of staff, there are only 2 tills. And customers actually look surprised when you’re in the queue, some of them I’m sure don’t think you’re a human being who requires feeding. They sigh and roll their eyes at the wait. One of these days I’m sure I’ll say ‘what do you expect? It’s a Saturday lunchtime you idiot!’
Clientele: In classy Swindon: lots of annoying teeny bopper types, teenage couples who make out constantly, mothers with screaming children and general ordinary people. When I’ve worked weekdays in school holidays, there seem to be a lot of professional people in suits about at lunchtime. The atmosphere is very loud on Saturdays and to be honest, it isn’t particularly great. The London branches always seem more sophisticated. I wish people wouldn’t ask me questions in my lunch break when I’m standing in the queue. They always seem to be Borders questions and of course I’m not actually employed by Borders and don’t deal with Borders stock.
Bottom Line: Starbucks is great if expensive, you would be well advised to avoid at busy times though.