By Lloyd Graff
Call it the frap flap but Starbucks is pulling the New Coke.
Evidently the Buck is feeling the pain from McDonald’s competitive and cheaper McCafé, in tampering with one of its most successful products, the beloved Frappuccino. My wife Risa was addicted to the mocha, light, double blended Grande Frappuccino with easy whip. Along with the shortbread cookie it was the break in her rigorous workday that usually goes to 8 p.m. (The shortbread replaced her former staple, the Rice Krispy Treat, after Starbucks ruined that by taking out the Trans Fats a few years back). The baristas at our local Starbucks all knew her order and started making it when they saw her approaching the store. If I came in they asked me if I was there for the Missus.
And now they’ve ruined it. According to Risa the new process using pumps is so inconsistent they’ve lost her recipe and cannot seem to recover it. From store to store the variance is enormous. I would compare this to McDonald’s using different hamburger grinds and ketchup at each store.
Fast food depends on consistency. White Castle makes the slider the same way everywhere, and Wendy’s chili is always reliable. A Frappuccino is not a Domino’s Pizza, which was so uniformly awful everywhere that it begged for a redo.
Risa is appalled. She’s furious. It is a topic of conversation daily. She feels like she’s been robbed of something dear to her without warning. She says she beat the New Coke debacle by buying cases of old Coke ahead of time. But there is no old Frappuccino to be had.
Starbucks you were stupid. Let’s see how long it takes before you realize it.
Question: If you were Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz what would you do to compete with McDonald’s?