Starbucks Betrayed My Wife

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?

From Blog Will Starbucks Die soon?

From Blog Will Starbucks Die soon?

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15 thoughts on “Starbucks Betrayed My Wife

  1. Dan Vespa

    Question: If you were Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz what would you do to compete with McDonald’s?

    Answer: I wouldn’t. Ask yourself this. Does a Ferrari compete with a Ford Escort? No. Why, because they cater to two differnet group of cosumers. Everybody knows that Starbucks will always be more expensive than a McDonalds Coffee (or Tim Hortons coffee for that matters, I am canadian). I think Mr. Starbucks should be market new products (as well as old products) more to the segment that would buy Starbucks no matter how good or less expensive Macdonalds coffee becomes. You don’t want to get dragged into a price war you really shouldn’t be in in the first place. It will ruin a good product that Starbucks is and in the end McDonalds will drop the coffee promotion and move on to something else…..

  2. Doug

    With McDonalds it’s all about convenience. In todays society it’s all about what can I get at the drive thru. I would set up what stores I could with a drive thru. Then put up some drive thru kiosk and call them Starbucks express.

  3. Larry Clayman

    Starbucks should not be competing with McDonalds in the first place. They lost their luster when going to Starbucks (for many people) no longer became an “experience.” If it’s just a cup of coffee, than Macs will do.

  4. Shawn

    I agree with Larry and Dan. Those two enterprises are not in competition, although McD’s would like you to think they are. Starbucks is about the culture, the name and the “innovative” options, not price. The caveat is that Starbucks has to keep it’s high standards, and not dumb down the product. That’s what Risa is experiencing and why she’s upset. She doesn’t go to Starbucks for price – she goes for selection and quality. Starbucks shouldn’t be worried about loosing customers to McD’s – those people that do go to the D aren’t their target market anyway.

  5. Tyler D. Shinaberry

    I can’t help but chuckle at this blog Lloyd.

    Our small town Kroger’s Starbucks had baristas with so little training that I managed to get sick off a cappuccino! This brings back the painful memories— steaks that could moo and the essential whole rotisserie chicken couldn’t upset the old food tank… but one poorly designed cup of cap did the trick.

    Hope this message finds you and the magazie doing well a prosperous.

  6. Bill Popoli

    Starbucks has lived a good life selling a product with a high profit margin, supported by great marketing and intense brand loyalty. Along comes a recession, and McDonalds challenges their position with a simple concept: value. What are you getting for the price? Is coffee really worth $7? Starbucks must evaluate why they are losing customers, and make some changes. Maybe lower prices, smaller serving sizes, and other cost savings to reduce their store overhead. If they don’t make some changes, they are gone.

  7. Deborah Rudy

    This is the worst news I’ve had today! First of all, I once tried McDonald’s coffee drinks when I was on a long road trip between Chicago and Austin, TX. There was no Starbucks in sight. The comparable McDonald’s coffee drink was so awful that Ricky and I had to pitch them out the window. Now Starbuck’s has wrecked our beloved frappucinos? As I am still marooned in Austin until work on our home in Chicagoland is finished, I was literally in tears laying in bed Monday night, telling my husband that I missed my friends, and especially missed that I could not just run over and meet Risa for a Starbuck’s frappucino break on a moment’s notice. I said that. In just those words.

    Starbuck’s customers are creatures of habit. When you wreck the drink, you wreck the reason to go into the store, and all the rituals and emotions that go along with it. The cozy feeling when you walk into a place where “everybody knows your name.” Howard, WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE BURNING!!! Give us back our frappucinos. NOW!

  8. veers

    my favorite part of this story is saying that starbucks ruined they rice krispy treat by removing the trans fats. i am only hoping you were being sarcastic when you wrote that. lol.

  9. Lloyd

    The loss of the Rice Krispy treat was a deep insult which took months to overcome but at least there was still the Frappucino. Now Howard messes with that. But swarf will always be swarf.And “we’ll always have Paris”.

  10. Noah Graff

    Veers, I will reiterate that removing the trans fats was a huge blow. They became disgusting. We’re not in New York, why shouldn’t we be allowed a few trans fats.

    I got irritated recently when they got rid of their chocolate croissants. Finally they had a pretty tasty thing and they get rid of it. Want to know what the justification was….It was that the ingredients weren’t “all natural.” So I’m supposed to believe all those pumps of syrups that go into the new crappuccinos are all natural? If only you knew how important the Frap was to my mom. She’s going through withdrawal. When the frapps come back in a matter of months I predict, whether she will reconcile is anyone’s guess. 🙁

  11. Claudia Salontai

    Just for your information–the coffee freezes at Mc. Donald’s are really good almost habit forming and much less expensive.
    Just something you needed to know.

  12. eaniakou

    I don’t find the coffee drinks at McDonald’s at all comparable to Starbucks in quality. If I’m at McDonald’s it’s because I’m in a hurry and just need something. If I’m at Starbucks, it’s because I want to slow down and enjoy something.


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