Why Starbucks is successful (and what we can learn from it)

You may love Starbucks for their tasty hand-crafted beverages. Or, you may choose to not give them your hard earned money because, after all, it is expensive. Whatever your stance is on Starbucks, one thing we can all agree: they have been consistently successful for over two decades in this evolving world. Here are couple of pointers we can borrow from the coffee giant that we can apply in our jobs.


Many companies already have a high standard in being customer driven. What sets Starbucks apart from the good companies is that the excellent level of care that is given to customers is also given to its employees.

For instance, they struck a partnership with Arizona State University, that is free to Starbucks employees, where they can earn their bachelor’s degree online. Totally free. Which company would ever do that? Whenever there is a natural disaster in the US, Starbucks makes it a priority to assist all their partners first in the affected area; from loaning money to sending help from other Starbucks stores to rebuild houses. This positive attitude towards their employees only boosts the level of commitment and passion when they come back to work.

What we can learn here is: treat your co-workers with dignity, respect and for a fact, they will return that kindness. They may even surpass what is asked of them. The more you give, the more you will receive.

No fear (of failure)

In my 7 year tenure at Starbucks, I noticed how every season, of every year, they would launch a new drink, sandwich and to-go food. Most of time, these new products would not be perceived positively. That didn’t matter, out of four launches, the drinks that would not sell would simply be removed from the menu. The hit products would stay for good which translates into profit on the long term.

How can we apply this no-fear principle in the workplace? Try new things/methods without being afraid of failure. What doesn’t work, throw it out. You would have only gained experience. What does work, keep. “You miss 100% of the shots you never take”, Wayne Gretzky once said. Take the shot.

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