Is Starbucks globalization?

For the sake of argument I’ve decided to make a post in response to Brian’s post on how Starbucks is not globalization. First of all I agree with many of the points made by Brian so this is not taking the completely opposite view but maybe more of a middle ground.

The first point Brian makes is the comparison between Starbucks and McDonalds by saying that although there was coffee and coffeehouses before Starbucks, McDonalds was a revolutionary in its field with food production and service. Although this is very true of McDonalds, Starbucks is not just another coffeshop. What makes Starbucks stand above other cafes? Starbucks in the spirit of competitiveness raised their game; the staff training, the standard of cleanliness, and product freshness has prompted other cafes to raise their standards. As mentioned in the article in First Post, Starbucks was also in innovator in “comfy armchairs, mood music, heat sleeves on paper cups, frappucinos”. Now I don’t know for sure what cafes were like 20 years ago so its hard to know how much Starbucks has really revolutionized the cafe but if any of the articles I’ve read are an indication they have changed it a lot.

The success of Starbucks is sort of based on globalizations ideas. In 1982, Howard Schultz joined the company and after a trip to Milan, he suggested that the company sell coffee and espresso drinks as well as beans. Starbucks started out strictly as a place that sold coffee beans but because of the idea of one man who went on a trip to Milan we now have Starbucks restuarants. The reason why we have all those crazy sounding that come in tall, grande, and venti is because one person took the ideas from Italian cafes and implemented them in America.

Starbucks itself also engages in fair trade coffee which is helping developing countries and in effect spreading globalization. Don’t forget either about the Starbucks that have made their way into bookstores and even the more recent creation of Starbucks Entertainment, yes folks Starbucks is involved in the film industry. So even though Starbucks has had a much greater effect on American culture than anywhere else in the world perhaps we need to give it more time and in the future Starbucks will fit the definition of globalization better.

Brian has made many good points and I do agree that McDonalds is driving the “globalization bus” but we need to give Starbucks its credit. Its representation of globalization may be vastly over blown but that is mainly because of ignorance or misinformation. The anti-globalization community sees Starbucks as a greedy corporation seeking to spread American culture and dominance in the world and monopolize the coffeehouse market in the US. So until people are actually well informed, Starbucks will be the big representation of globalization despite the fact that it is really just “sitting on the globalization bus”.

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2 Responses to “Is Starbucks globalization?”


  1. 1 bcooney September 28, 2006 at 11:28 pm

    Amen. This argument came to me one day as the many in the class cited starbucks as a key mover in globalization. My points against Starbucks were in many cases falible. I think that this is a great discussioin for prompting issues and prompting just how big globalization is. Most of all I’m glad someone read this; be controversial people will read the blog.


  1. 1 STARBUCKS IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD! « Jellohbeans’s Weblog Trackback on August 3, 2008 at 10:06 am

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