Passion Over Profits

Would you be willing to close the doors to your business for 3 hours for employee training? Does the possibility of missed sales during that time make you weak in the knees? What if you had over 7,000 locations and closed for 3 hours- how devastating would that be to your bottom line?

If you want the answers to the above questions, you can ask the people at Starbucks. The company, struggling to regain the charm it held with consumers and investors for many years, closed almost all locations on Tuesday to hold employee training sessions. The purpose was to refocus Starbucks' baristas on their role in delivering a great experience to customers. The training session is one of many initiatives led by Howard Schultz, who built Starbucks into a global giant and recently reassumed control as CEO.

Does it make financial sense to put passion for brewing great coffee over profits, even if it's only for 3 hours? Absolutely! Starbucks was built on Schultz's entreprenurial spirit, but as is the case with any business that expands to a larger scale it is difficult to preserve the organization's culture. The training session was an organization-wide effort to instill "the Starbucks way" in the employees of this now massive organization. If that effect is realized, the potential for a long-term impact on profits exists in the form of greater customer loyalty that could arise from a better experience being offered in Starbucks' stores.

Another benefit of the training is the exposure Starbucks received in the media. The store closings were covered widely, and it created exposure for Starbucks that millions of dollars in advertising (which Starbucks does not do anyway) could generate. While some competitors like Dunkin Donuts held special promotions that essentially mocked Starbucks' closing for training, it is possible that Starbucks will reap the benefits of being closed for 3 hours for a long time to come. Link

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