Howard Schultz quote

It’s 5 PM and you need a comfortable place to crank out a major presentation. You get too distracted by video games at home, and there’s a pile of paperwork on your desk at work. What you really need is a “third place,” somewhere where you can work in uninterrupted, caffeinated bliss.

That’s the beauty of Starbucks – a coffee chain that’s been building a brand on this mentality since 1971. Not only that, but they also offer some of the finest customer service in the business, one Venti cup at a time. Starbucks gets customer service, and they get it right!

Starbucks continues to grow and think of new ways to serve more than just piping hot coffee and delicious lattes to their patrons, and for that, your business can learn many important lessons. 

#1: They Listen to Their Customers

Source: The Chicago Tribune

In an act of brilliance, Starbucks unleashed “My Starbucks Idea” in 2008. The goal was to give customers an easy way to submit their requests and concerns in a better place than a suggestion box.

The result – over 300 ideas from this microsite have made it into Starbucks stores around the world. Some of the highlights include: the new Hazelnut Machiatto flavor, a free treat for birthdays, and even the iconic green splash sticks that are now on the self-service counter by the napkins and sleeves. All of this came from hearing out what customers wanted and making the necessary changes.

#2: They Invest in Branded Merch

Custom promotional items are always valuable, whether they’re offered for free or sold in a gift shop. Starbucks knows all about that value with their eye-catching travel mugs, tumblers, and ceramic mugs printed with their mermaid logo.

They change this drinkware up every season, keeping things interesting for their dedicated fans. Today, the Starbucks mugs are some of the most iconic promotional items of all time! In fact, they’ve made an appearance in hit shows like Sex and the City and popular movies like The Devil Wears Prada. It just goes to show a great promotional product always steal the spotlight!

The mugs at Starbucks are some of the most iconic
promotional items of all time

#3: They Make Everyone Feel Comfortable

Source: Pinterest

Starbucks has cultivated an environment that’s welcoming and open. Every detail, from the lighting to the furniture, has been carefully considered to ensure customers feel at home in their stores.

Take the round tables, for example, which were specifically chosen to help solo people feel less alone, but also open up communication with larger groups. This choice proves to be handy for everything from study sessions to work meetings. It also shows the attention Starbucks pays to detail. They’ve created a cozy environment that makes people want to return again and again, which is the goal of any thriving business.

#4: They Offer Incentives


My Starbucks Rewards, which launched in April 2016, is a loyalty program that offers perks and benefits to frequent customers. You earn 2 “stars” for every $1 spent, which can eventually be redeemed for free drinks, the ability to pay by phone, and a fast pass to go through the line. If you’re extra dedicated, you can even get an exclusive Starbucks Rewards Visa® Card.

People enjoy My Starbucks Rewards because they’re getting something for free and a better user experience with the mobile app. These are customer service qualities that should never be taken for granted.

Watch this short video on My Starbucks Rewards!

#5: They Give Back to the Community


When your brand is as huge as Starbucks, you have the power to cultivate social change. The coffee chain has taken many philanthropic initiatives, such as a $10m partnership with Closed Loop Partners to create eco-friendly cups that won’t end up in landfills.

Still, that’s only one way Starbucks is giving back to the community. They’ve also partnered with Feeding America to donate unsold meals, like sandwiches and salads, to the homeless. If your business has the means, it can do a lot of good in the world to follow in Starbucks’s footsteps.

How Starbucks is Doing Today

The numbers speak for themselves when it comes to how much success Starbucks has had as a company.

  • As of February 2019, the net worth of Starbucks is at $2.9 billion.
  • There are more than 28,000 Starbucks locations around the world.
  • The average customer goes to Starbucks 6 times every month.
  • Starbucks stores around the world sell a combined 8 million cups of coffee every day.
  • About 4 billion Starbucks cups were used in 2014 (that’s 35 times longer than the Great Wall of China!

Every little thing about your business matters, from the furniture in your store to the promotional giveaways you offer your customers. Who knows? Maybe in a few years you’ll have a location on every block!


Starbucks. (2019). Starbucks Company Timeline. Retrieved March 11, 2019, from

Dennison, S. (2018, June 25). How Much is Starbucks Worth? Retrieved March 11, 2019, from

Statista. (2019). Number of International And United States Starbucks Stores from 2005 to 2018. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from

Khatri, S. (2015, July 29). Crazy Stats About How Much Starbucks We Drink Every Year. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from

Qin, L. (2019). How Many Cups Does Starbucks Use in a Day? Retrieved March 12, 2019, from

Dreher, B. (2019). Why Are Starbucks’ Tables Round? Retrieved March 12, 2019, from

Booth, J. (2018, July 10). 15 Things You Never Knew About Starbucks. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from

Braineet. (2017, July 25). My Starbucks Idea: An Open Innovation Success Story. Retrieved March 12, 2019, from

Palnitkar, S. (2017, April 12). Loyalty Rewards Case Study – New Starbucks Rewards Program. Retrieved March 15, 2019, from

Starbucks Stories. (2018, March 20). Starbucks and Closed Loop Partners to Develop Recyclable, Compostable Cup Solution. Retrieved March 15, 2019, from

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over four years of experience in the industry. She is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products and has had work published for the Promotional Products Association International and the Advertising Specialty Institute.