Friday, February 13, 2009

Tip of the week: saving at Starbucks

It’s been ages since and I’ve decided to revive Tip of the week. I’ve been inspired by a company going through a rough patch and with the way they’ve been doing things lately, it may get a bit rougher.

cut 1,370 jobs in the U.S. and Canada this week. They’ve also been busily closing non-performing stores – perhaps a smart move – in my neighbourhood there are four locations within a 10-minute walk from my front door!

I had been a loyal customer. Last week, all that changed. I’m a decaf drinker. (Okay, you can stop laughing now.) Apparently, Starbucks has a new policy: no brewing decaf after 12 noon. So, afternoons and evenings when people probably consume the most decaf coffee, they aren’t keeping it on hand. Instead, if you ask for decaf, either you’ll be offered an Americano for the same price, or they may offer to brew you a fresh pot if you have an extra four minutes to wait. Not very practical at an office tower where the majority of the clientele are employees running downstairs for quick fix.

Contrast that to Tim Hortons. My office is connected to a subway station. One location is always swamped. Line-ups are long (they’re smart enough to have three separate ones) and move fast. The staff may not be as cool or knowledgeable as the Baristas but they know how to brew and pour basic coffee plus make change real fast.

Around the same time Starbucks stopped brewing decaf at noon, Timmies opened a second subway location – brilliantly located so customers need not go through the subway turnstile to get their java jolts. Now they have one on either side and brew fresh decaf all day long. If only they served decaf lactose-free lattes, they’d be almost perfect.

So, what you drink, when and where is your call. However, if you’re a decaf drinker, especially if you like Americanos, and you’re near a Starbucks after the clock strikes noon, take if from me. Ask for a regular decaf and get your specialty drink for the regular price.
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  1. I also drink decaf after about 3pm, and I've been doing this Starbucks decaf thing for a while now. I was annoyed the first time, now it's fine. Tim's always has decaf brewing...

  2. @km Thanks for stopping by. Starbucks is the closet place to get coffee while I'm at the office. I also really like the strength of their decaf - it tastes like real coffee! The staff is struggling a bit with the decision too. Just one of many ways we'll see customer service changing in recessionary times.


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