It was interesting to see Howard Schultz the Starbucks Chief Executive on BBC Breakfast News this morning. It seems Starbucks are closing a lot of outlets however when asked if reducing prices to bring in the customers would be sensible in the current economic climate he didn't seem to think it was a good idea.
I used to pay a daily visit to Starbucks. I was quite happy to stop off for a coffee when I was in the town centre and I used to go there for my lunch when I worked in Leicester.
These days however I don't go there at all despite a branch having opened close to home on the Shires retail park and a second branch having opened in Leamington town centre.
If Mr Schultz is reading this (and hey, I'm sure he's an avid follower of this website), I can tell him categorically that I'm no longer a customer because while forking out £1.75 for a latte isn't too eye watering, paying over two quid for any drink that doesn't contain alcohol is not value for money.
As for the whole ‘Starbucks experience' justifying the high price, I don't think they have much to boast about. The outlets are usually small and cramped, the one free table you're keeping an eye on while they make your coffee is invariably snapped up by one half of the couple who have just walked in the door while the other half joins the back of the queue, the place is crowded with mums, pushchairs and screaming babies and the décor is... like... sooooo Nineteen Nineties.
Added to that, there's always some bloke who looks like he should be called ‘Marcus' sitting on the comfy sofa wearing designer glasses and reading Dosdoyevsky or tapping away on a MacBook.
While the coffee there is nice, it's nothing to shout about and neither is the ‘experience'. Outfits like this are a bit of a 90's fad and I'm not surprised there'll be a lot less of them around after the recession.