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Starbucks - Business Case Study

            In late October 2005, the 75th Ranger Regiment sent a young but battle hardened lieutenant fresh off a 13-month Iraq deployment to the Pacific Northwest. He had recently completed the Ranger Officer Selection Process where he completed grueling obstacles courses, rigorous physical fitness requirements, psychological tests, and a rigid board hearing. His destination was Fort Lewis, Washington, a short drive down I-5 from Seattle, Washington. Although a graduate of West Point and various military schools that included sleep deprivation as part of their programs, a veteran of a long combat deployment, and a person that had driven cross-country several times as the Army sent him from base to base, he was not a coffee drinker at all. Only when being starved in military training on a number of occasions did he drink coffee in an attempt to satisfy hunger pains. For the Starbucks marketing department, he would probably not even be a "reach." He never liked the taste of coffee, and he was even was quoted saying, "People who need coffee to function are weak." Yet when arriving in Seattle, he was intrigued by the "coffee culture." Being late October and early November it was the rainy-season; he was in a new place, a new unit, was about to deploy again, and he was alone. In his mind the echoed the words, "Be careful- the rain can be depressing" or "The suicide rate is high." These were warnings voiced by friends and family before he left for Washington. In the midst of all of this, this lieutenant longed for a sense of community and a break from the Army; even if that break was just a few minutes a day. Upon arrival he immediately noticed that people of the Pacific Northwest were overall happy, polite, and upbeat despite the constant rain at that time of year. He noticed that everyone seemed to be some part of the "coffee culture." He was intrigued and decided to investigate or "experience" this coffee culture at a local Starbucks.

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