Starbucks has done a lot of impressive stuff over the years, beginning at it's dawn awakening disenchanted coffee drinkers across the globe to the romantic experience of a premium brew and genuine passion, to continuously increasing the standards of employee engagement and benefits, to saving this most sacred of nature's nectars. All at insane profitability.
Because of the sustained (or regained) success of this corporation, one would assume they know what they're doing. You can almost never make everyone happy. They've definitely pissed off a lot of people as people like myself continue to fall in love with the Siren over and over again. But they're obviously doing something right and even when I was most confused last year when we had that little Gold/stock price/labor crisis, I had faith in what I'm so honored to be a part of. But this whole Unicorn Frappuccino fiasco has me really stumped.
I'm used to the hustle of satisfying a disappointed customer in February who fell in love with the Caramel Brulée Latte during the holidays or is a few months too early for the S'mores Frappuccino (one of the very few I get excited about) and is too distraught to be pleased with just another drink. Partners become masters of remedying the moment with sincerity, perception, and intricate knowledge of their craft. As a marketer-in-the-making, I understand the net gain of seasonal drinks as well. But I'm so baffled by the huge promotional efforts for the Unicorn in tandem with our "25 per day for a 5 day LTO". The correlating inventory and labor hours were clearly nowhere near enough to satisfy the reality. [You're welcome. --Captain Obvious] My store sold out long before sunset on the first day; the other stores in our district were out by the end of the second day. Our manager called in TWO reinforcements to recover for closing Wednesday after everyone worked an extra long, hard day. I showed up to a drive-thru line rivaling the worst days of Christmas with only 4 of my partners running the show (normal 7am-9am peak rushes require 7 baristas on the floor, holidays require 9 for much longer and less predictable hours, for reference) and the other reinforcement showed up in his fatigues straight from the army base. There wasn't time for fetching his other uniform; we needed him.
The phones at all three stores I pick up shifts at have hardly stopped ringing since the launch with people looking for this "magical" beverage and causing a negative impact on operations. Meaning I can't make a Frappuccino, write on cups, clean, or brew a pot of coffee while I am taking back to back calls. The whole thing has been a shit show. [My apologies for the language, but the inflection requires such.]
There is definitely plenty I do not know about marketing research and forecasting and business strategy in general, but I can definitely tell you I only need to be conscious and able to read the smoothed-average sales of similar drinks to tell you that we would sell easily more than 200 Unicorn Frappuccinos each day. I mean, I don't have statistics software or 40 hours a week of my time dedicated to determining an optimal equilibrium; which, of course, may not necessarily be the goal. Assuming that supply would last 5 days is laughable. The only logical conclusion is that the shortage was intentional, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why. I also cannot figure outanything else to Google to find out why... Suggestions or answers are highly encouraged. I'm losing sleep over here.
(formerly "Bare Barista Threads" and "Memoirs of a Pizza Girl")
With a year of delivering pizza, two and a half years as a barista, and some more time in the trenches, I have plenty of stories, thoughts, and musings. The days that threatened to break me all the while built me. I want to help others in my profession view their work as an opportunity, too. This is my soap box.