I’m a loyal Starbucks customer, so it pains me to do this but … here it goes. Earlier this week, following the announcement of 600 layoffs, the 7,000+ stores temporarily closed their doors for three hours to conduct nationwide employee training. In response to this announcement, scrappy competitor Dunkin’ Donuts offered small lattes, cappuccinos and espresso drinks for 99 cents “to ensure that no coffee over is denied a delicious espresso-based beverage.” Touche!
It was a brilliant PR move on the part of the company, whose success in the caffeine market is quickly threatening to outpace Starbucks’. Dunkin’ Donuts is making huge inroads by appealing to the masses—the “average Joe” coffee drinker, if you will, who doesn’t know (or want to know) that ‘tall’ and ‘small’ are the same size. BUT, that said, I do think that Starbucks execs made a good decision in closing up shop for a few hours to “foster enthusiasm” among its 135,000 employees (who were likely concerned for their job security) and “improve the quality of the drinks” made by baristas.
Sipping my iced coffee as I write this, my conclusion is simple: Both companies made a good choice, but Dunkin’ Donuts definitely takes the cake for exploiting another’s hurt for its own gain. Maybe a little side of Schadenfreude with its 99 cent latte? You’ve gotta respect that … even if you are a big enough sucker to spend 10% of your annual income on overpriced (and, admittedly, over-roasted) coffee. Guilty as charge.
By Courtney Barnes