Timeline: celebrating 50 years of Starbucks
From the famed inaugural Seattle store in the 70s to 32,000 stores spanning 80 countries 50 years later, we chart five decades of Starbucks.
Total stores: 4
Starbucks was born in 1971 in Seattle by three friends from the University of San Francisco, all instructed in the art of roasting by gourmet coffee company Peet’s founder. Throughout the 70s, they sold Peet’s roasted coffee beans and grinders, proving popular and profitable, grossing US$46,832 in the first nine months, and opening a second store in 1972. They began roasting their own beans and opened a roasting plan in 1978. The brand’s name and logo were inspired by nautical mythology, the logo a mermaid (though brown, not green) and the name taken from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. Starbucks moved to its second location in 1977, Seattle’s famed Pike Place Market, where the store with the original brown logo still remains.
Total stores: 55
In 1982, after Starbucks opened its fifth store, featuring the first Starbucks bar and selling brewed coffee, Howard Schultz joins Starbucks as director of marketing and starts providing coffee to fine restaurants and espresso bars. Following a buying trip to Milan, where he experienced a cultural awakening inspired by the city’s coffee bars, Schultz tried to convince Starbucks to test the coffeehouse concept in downtown Seattle. They decline and Schultz opens his own coffee bar Il Giornale in 1985 using Starbucks roasted beans, and in 1987, acquires Starbucks for US$3.8m, becoming CEO of Starbucks Corporations. He opens stores in Chicago and Vancouver, Canada, with 55 stores by the end of the 80s. Full health benefits are offered to all employees in 1988.
Total stores: 2,498
Starbucks becomes the first privately owned US company to offer a stock option program and completes its initial IPO in 92. It makes numerous acquisitions, including Tazo Tea and extends the brand into grocery channels US-wide, including its newly launched Frappuccino bottles. It was the decade Starbucks starts giving back, launching its Foundation, opening stores in underserved neighbourhoods via a joint-venture partnership with Magic Johnson, establishing an emergency financial assistance fund for partners, and partnering with Conservation International to promote sustainable coffee-growing practices.
The 90s saw a 45-fold increase in store openings, from 55 to 2,498, including debuting its first online store, first licensed airport store (Seattle), first drive-through location, and first store outside of the US (Japan in 96) before rolling out global stores, in the UK, Malaysia, New Zealand, Thailand, China, Kuwait, and Lebanon, among others.
2000 – 2010
Total stores: 16,858
Ethics, health, sustainability and digital dominate the decade. Starbucks begins selling Fairtrade certified coffee, introduces ethical coffee-sourcing guidelines, debuts its first two Farmer Support Centers (Costa Rica, Rwanda), unveils the industry’s first paper beverage cup, eliminates all artificial trans fats from beverages, and acquires Ethos Water. Store openings grow seven-times during the decade, across 42 new countries, including Hong Kong, Australia, Saudi, Chile, Turkey, Germany, Brazil Russia, and Jordan, and its first overseas roasting facility.
Having stepped back from the CEO role in 2000, chairman Schultz returns in 2008, adopting a new company mission statement focused on ‘inspiring and nurturing the human spirit’, and upping digital transformation, unveiling Starbuck’s first online community, debuting Twitter/Facebook pages, launching a loyalty card program and Starbucks Card mobile payment, and offering customers unlimited Wi-Fi.
Total stores: 32,000
Starbucks doubles its number of stores, with 15,000+ in the US alone, and extends its reach to 80 countries, including Guatemala, Morocco, Finland, India, and Vietnam. Elevation takes centrestage with the acquisition of La Boulange and Teavana, launch of Cold Brew iced coffee, and opening of Starbucks’ first Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle. The company reaches a 99% ethically sourced coffee milestone in 2015 and opens an ethical coffee farming R&D centre in Costa Rica.
Hiring its first chief community officer in 2012, the brand opens its first community store in an underserved neighbourhood with 15 more opening during the decade; rolls out US$1.5m in neighbourhood grants, creates a community fund of US$100m to help advance racial equity, commits to hiring 10,000 military veterans and 100,000 opportunity youth, and hires its first chief inclusion and diversity officer in 2020. And on March 18, 2019, Starbucks opens its milestone 30,000th store, in Shenzhen, China.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.