Starbucks

The entire buzz in the recent past about Starbucks coming to India reminded me of this question that popped up in my head when I was at a Starbucks at a mall in New Jersey last year.

It was probably a weekend, the mall was crowded. There were a good number of people queuing up to get their caffeine fix or to grab a quick bite before getting back to shopping. It was apparent that the café was short staffed. There was a growing line of people waiting to order, and a fewer, but slowing increasing number waiting to pick up their orders. There was only 4 staff members.

Which brings me to the question.

What would you do in a similar situation, if the total staff strength was 4 (including you), handling a growing queue of coffee lovers. Would you:

  • Divert a larger number of hands to taking orders (so that you could lock in the revenues, so that customers would complain/ grumble at best, without you losing any business (since the queue to order is moving fast, and the money’s coming in), or would you
  • Have an  equal number of staff taking orders and preparing too, or
  • Would you have more staff members preparing customer orders, while letting the line to order grow, so that customers’ who’ve already ordered didn’t have to wait too much, and as the line to order would obvious grow longer, those in a hurry could go about doing their work and perhaps come in later when the lines were shorter, and those who didn’t mind waiting, could.

Let me know what you would do in a similar situation.

Your choice will speak a good deal about how you would run your business, your priorities, the whole jazz.

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9 Comments
  1. Su

    Guess I wld open a take-away counter and divert sm of them there 😉

    • Shrutin Shetty

      Don’t think that would help. Cause even the stuff being had at the outlet was in paper cups, etc. So its as good as take away. The take away counter might help if there’s shortage of place to sit/ stand. Then people might be open to the idea of grabbing something and having it on the go.

  2. Su

    Maybe we shld discuss this is in one of our ‘completely useless discussions’ next time…(term courtesy JD)….

  3. Su

    Maybe we shld discuss this is in one of our ‘completely useless discussions’ next time…(term courtesy JD)….

  4. Sheshank Reddy S

    Service orders as fast as you can. The orders queue is important, but customers who turn away because the queue is too long don’t blame the retailer nearly as much as customers who get frustrated waiting for service.
    A long queue will turn business away and that’s bad in the short term, but most of the people going away will realize that a lot of people think that the product/service is worth waiting for, so it must be good.
    In the longer term the retailer needs to balance steady-state staffing levels with demand to ensure customers get to place orders in a reasonable time.

    • Shrutin Shetty

      That was explained perfectly Sheshank.! Thanks for the comment. I have been of the same view, though I did get some strong counter-views (mostly old-school) during conversations on this topic. By the way, you should start sharing some of your experiences and views on your blog as well. Would make for some real interesting reading, bud.

  5. Sheshank Reddy S

    Service orders as fast as you can. The orders queue is important, but customers who turn away because the queue is too long don’t blame the retailer nearly as much as customers who get frustrated waiting for service.
    A long queue will turn business away and that’s bad in the short term, but most of the people going away will realize that a lot of people think that the product/service is worth waiting for, so it must be good.
    In the longer term the retailer needs to balance steady-state staffing levels with demand to ensure customers get to place orders in a reasonable time.

    • Shrutin Shetty

      That was explained perfectly Sheshank.! Thanks for the comment. I have been of the same view, though I did get some strong counter-views (mostly old-school) during conversations on this topic. By the way, you should start sharing some of your experiences and views on your blog as well. Would make for some real interesting reading, bud.

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