Starbucks is the largest and most popular coffee chain in the world with an impressive 24,000 cafes in over 70 countries; almost half of which are in the United States alone. First opening in 1971, the chain has gone from strength to strength and is still a firm-favourite with coffee lovers everywhere. Although you may consider yourself to be one of the biggest Starbucks fans on the planet, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about the coffee chain.
Here are 9 things you probably don’t know about Starbucks – prepare to be surprised!
1. It was founded by two teachers and a writer
Yep, you read that correctly. Now, you may have initially considered that the chain was set up by a determined businessman who had had years of experience of sealing deals, the opposite is very much true.
It was in fact started by three normal men
Three men named Gordon Bowker – a writer, Zev Siegel and Jerry Baldwin – both teachers set up the business as they wanted to bring something a unique touch to Seattle when it came to the coffee being sold.
The first Seattle coffee shop
They opened the very first Starbucks branch back in 1971 at Pike Place Market – in which they sold just beans and not the takeaway coffee we know of today.
It was very small-scale back in 1971
It seems the chain grew and grew beyond their own imagination when Howard Schultz became marketing director in 1982 and later, the CEO.
2. It had a huge name change
It’s hard to imagine that Starbucks would be named anything else really – but there was, in fact, a huge name change in the early stages.
There were a few contenders before the final decision was made
Co-founder Gordon Bowker told the Seattle Times: “We were thinking of all kinds of names and came desperately close to calling it Cargo House, which would have been a terrible, terrible mistake.”
The first name that was decided on was ‘Pequods’
In relation to a vague literary reference, it was then originally named ‘Pequods’ after a minor character in Moby Dick.
After a brief period, the co-founders decided ‘Pequods’ just wasn’t the right fit
According to a Starbucks spokesperson, they soon changed their mind when they tried the tagline ‘Have a cup of Pequod’. They finally decided on Starbucks in reference to Pequod’s first mate.
3. The original mermaid logo was originally racy
Okay, so you’re supposed to be lured in to buy the coffee, but the original mermaid logo was, well…let’s just say not exactly PG.
There were breasts and two tails back in the 70’s
The original logo was meant to reflect the sea’s seduction and had been discovered in the archives, where they found a 16th-century Nordic woodcut. She was seen to have a bare chest, flowing locks and two tails.
In the 80’s, they created a more modest version of the original
In 1987, they made the move to cover up her chest which was the first step to a more tasteful image.
Today, it’s far more family-friendly
It wasn’t until 1992, that the company designed the logo we are all familiar with today – a far more attractive version than the original some may say.
4. Two new stores open on average each day
Due to the large scale of the company, Starbucks opens at least two new stores each day on average.
The 90’s was the most successful decade for the company
It has slowed down a little in the past few years though, but there was a particular period during the 1990s when stores were being opened left, right and centre.
Disaster struck in the mid-00’s
In 2008 and 2009, the chain was hit when a recession hit, forcing customers to cut back on their coffee-buying habits, so the company had to slow down just a little.
Despite the difficulties, it’s still the most popular coffee chain in the world
During this period, it closed 771 stores across the world, however, this was just a very small dent in the number of stores that were still very much in daily operation.
5. A Grand Coffee has more caffeine than four Red Bulls
There’s always the theory that coffee can keep you at awake at all hours, but how true that is can be argued.
Need an energy boost?
Struggling to stay awake to complete that essay or the morning commute to work is making you feel like a zombie? Well, a Grand Coffee from Starbucks could be the answer you’re looking for.
The Grand sized coffee knocks spots off Red Bull
According to research, a Grand coffee has a whopping 330 milligrams of caffeine in comparison to a Red Bull which has just 70 milligrams.
Bet you’ll be opting for a Starbucks over a Red Bull to keep your eyes open now…
A standard energy drink contains 200 milligrams of caffeine. Although a Starbucks is a little more pricey than other options, it’s definitely worth splashing out on if you need that instant boost of energy.
6. The company spends more on health care than its products
Everyone likes to know they’re feeling appreciated and well looked after at work and Starbucks doesn’t disappoint when it comes to taking care of their employees.
A happy workforce means a productive workplace
Howard Schultz returned as CEO to the company when the chain was experiencing some financial difficulty and was forced to cut costs.
The CEO had to make important decisions when it came to the future of Starbucks
If Starbucks employees work more than 20 hours per week, their healthcare is covered by the company.
Employees were still granted their healthcare benefit despite the cuts
Although there were cutbacks on the amount of staff and the number of stores, he refused to make any cutbacks on the health care of employees, which the company spends over $300,000 paying out each year.
7. They have a secret cup size
Although you think you may be familiar with Starbuck’s menu, there’s a high likelihood you don’t know about one particular item on their list.
The ‘short’ is actually a thing!
The 12 ounce – tall is usually considered to be the smallest cup size on the menu, but there is one even smaller.
Perfect for that quick energy boost in the mornings
The 8 ounce is actually the very smallest on the menu and is usually used for kid’s hot chocolates.
You’ll need to ask for it, or you won’t find it on the menu
If you’re hoping for an extremely small coffee, then just ask for a ‘short’, so you’ll definitely be served a coffee in this size.
8. The most expensive drink ever purchased there cost over $100
Starbucks drinks cost no more than a couple of dollars per cup, however, one particular drink went for over $100.
Erm, how much?
How you may ask? Well, one customer asked for a White Mocha Frappuccino that was 112 shots of espresso, five bananas, chocolate chips and protein powder.
Now, that’s a lot of ingredients for one drink
The final bill tallied up to $102.40…but he didn’t even end up paying for it.
The customer didn’t even have to fork out the cash for it
As it was his birthday, the kind Starbucks team gave the customer the eye-wateringly expensive drink free of charge. Now, that’s good customer service.
9. They have a ’10-minute’ rule.
Okay, so this has nothing to do with coffee beans being dropped on the floor or anything like that, so don’t worry.
So, what’s the 10 minute rule?
Although stores open at different times in the morning; whether that be 5am or 8am, they all shared one thing in common.
Ah, the closing and opening times
To ensure staff are prepared for service and customers aren’t disappointed, the store actually opens 10 minutes before the posted opening time and 10 minutes after.
Once again, Starbucks takes prides on its customer service
Why you may ask? “This is just to provide good customer service, as there’s almost always a customer waiting for a Starbucks to open” a spokesperson for the company said.