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The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary

The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary

4.2 17
by Joseph A. Michelli, Dick Hill (Narrated by)

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With unique access to Starbucks personnel and resources, Joseph Michelli discovered that the success of Starbucks is driven by the people who work there — the partners — and the special experience they create for each customer. Michelli reveals how you can follow the Starbucks way.


With unique access to Starbucks personnel and resources, Joseph Michelli discovered that the success of Starbucks is driven by the people who work there — the partners — and the special experience they create for each customer. Michelli reveals how you can follow the Starbucks way.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this paean to "one of the truly exceptional American success stories," Michelli convinces the reader that Starbucks is a great company, but he stumbles when trying to extract "precepts that can enhance your business and your personal life." He explores the various levels on which Starbucks succeeds, from its generous HR policies and lively work environment to its attention to detail and genuine concern for social causes all of which highlight how singular a company it is. (Michelli throws in the word "unique" as often as twice a sentence.) But when it comes to advice for businesspeople, his "simple, yet not simplistic" tenets are too vague to be very helpful. Michelli notes that he has no personal stake in Starbucks: "I am not here to sell you on the company." But his enthused exclamations "It is difficult to imagine all the great things that are yet to come for Starbucks" give The Starbucks Experience the ring of an authorized book. Still, the company's practices are undeniably innovative and inspiring, and even if most of them aren't directly relevant, there's surely something in this book that's applicable to most businesses. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Michelli, a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant, takes an in-depth look at Starbucks's proven and practical strategies for building a successful, multinational corporation. His chapters illustrate the company's five basic success principles: make it your own, everything matters, surprise and delight, embrace resistance, and leave your mark. Readers will discover a rich mix of ideas and techniques that will help them apply the Starbucks vision, creativity, and leadership to their own careers, workplaces, and companies. Michelli shares fascinating information, e.g., the Starbucks employee turnover rate is 250 percent lower than the industry average, Starbucks has stores in 37 countries and averages more than 35 million customer visits each week, five new Starbucks stores open a day, and, perhaps most amazingly, Starbucks is not a franchise business. This book shows readers how employee motivation, excellent customer service and satisfaction, and community involvement build a great company. Most business collections will want to add.-Susan C. Awe, Univ. of New Mexico Lib., Albuquerque Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Turning The Ordinary Into Extraordinary
After two years of access to the inner workings of the coffee-retailer behemoth, Joseph Michelli wrote The Starbucks Experience in an effort to explain the company's runaway success. From its establishment in Seattle in 1971 as a single-location coffee shop, Starbucks now has more than 11,500 non-franchised locations worldwide, annual sales of more than $600 million and has been rated as one of the best Fortune 100 companies to work for. Since 1992, its stock has grown a staggering 5,000 percent.

How has Starbucks prospered based on the supposedly absurd idea of a $3 cup of coffee? By having a progressive corporate culture, says Michelli, and passing its values to all employees - "partners" as they are known in the company. Michelli says that by using the same principles, almost any company can become more successful.

Concentration on Basics
While part of Starbucks' success is drawn from extensions of its core coffee business - retail sales, music, gift packs - the lion's share comes from its creation of experience. This is true not only for customers but, perhaps more importantly, for Starbucks' partners (employees). Going beyond things such as stock options and health insurance (provided even for part-timers), Starbucks "consistently spends more on training than it does on advertising," writes Michelli. Its program includes product information, how to create good customer relations, the basic principles of success and employee empowerment strategies.

This philosophy has helped keep Starbucks' employee turnover rate 120 percent below the quick-service restaurant industry average. Partners are encouraged to have fun, get to know customers' likes and dislikes and treat each other with respect. Management sticks to the same tenets. Michelli quotes Starbucks International President Martin Coles saying, "It's impossible to ask our people to behave the same way if we're not willing to go down that track ourselves." Michelli says that regardless of a company's resources, all principals can treat employees in a way that will inspire them to creativity and passion.

The Big Five
Michelli breaks down the Starbucks success formula into five parts. Number one is "Make It Your Own." By virtue of their stock options, partners consider themselves part owners of the corporation and most try to meet the firm's mission and priorities. In turn, the company makes it a point to encourage, listen and respond to partners' suggestions and comments. Additionally, partners are encouraged to find out customers' needs and respond to them on as personal a level as feasible. Partners are also urged to become involved in their communities, another Starbucks passion.

The second principle is "Everything Matters" - strive for consistency in quality and environment and pay constant attention to detail. It also means never compromising quality, making sure every partner in every location is knowledgeable and friendly, and ensuring that every Starbucks location offers a welcoming atmosphere that makes customers want to return.

Next is "Surprise and Delight," which Starbucks takes to new levels. This principle might involve something as simple as opening early for a customer waiting outside or as involved as creating a city-wide coffee-tasting day, where Starbucks' partners set up tables at train stations, offering commuters free coffee - both examples Michelli provides.

The fourth principle, "Embrace Resistance," addresses how Starbucks' partners are trained to turn negative feedback from customers into opportunities to improve the business and strengthen the relationship. All levels of management are asked to commit to this. Similarly, stores are expected to always seek options to seemingly "impossible" customer requests.

The last principle is "Leave Your Mark." This addresses the company's commitment to not only community outreach, but to environmental issues, positive change and fiscal responsibility.

Referring to his subtitle, Michelli concludes that any firm can become more "extraordinary" by using these five Starbucks' principles.

Why We Like This Book
In The Starbucks Experience, Michelli has produced something more than the typical Fortune 500 company profile. Through his use of personalized stories and quotes from present and former Starbucks' partners, he creates a framework of the Starbucks strategy useful enough for any business owner. Copyright © 2007 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Product Details

America Media International
Publication date:
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
5.48(w) x 7.67(h) x 1.23(d)

Meet the Author

Joseph A. Michelli, Ph.D., is the founder of Lessons for Success, a training, consulting, and keynote presentation company. He also hosts an award-winning daily radio show on KVOR-AM in Colorado and speaks to various organizations throughout the world.

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The Starbucks Experience: 5 Principles for Turning Ordinary into Extraordinary 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Chris_S More than 1 year ago
Over the past few years Starbucks has become associated with coffee and the coffee house experience like Kleenex is with facial tissue. Starbucks has brought a huge change to the coffee industry and how Americans understand coffee. Many people will decry Starbucks as a monolith of burnt beans and bitter blends, and while I say to each his own, there is something special about the company behind the Siren. This book provides an overarching understanding of what drives Starbucks from its product lines, to the experience of its customers in their stores and how Starbucks connects to the communities that their stores are located in and from where their coffee is grown. Starbucks markets itself more than just a cup of coffee. The $2 Venti drip coffee is an entry key into its experiences in their stores. Working in Barnes & Noble Cafe and reading this book I understand how Starbucks has become the new "Cheers." Calling it the "Third Place" Starbucks-esque locations are where people meet up for relaxation or work. Their business model is being the place where people know you name, drink and face. A must read for anyone thinking of opening their own business or even just working in retail.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I expected this to be a book limited to what made Starbucks successful but to by 'surprise and delight' it caused me to look at myself and my business very differently. The Starbucks Experience also offered me leadership ideas from the top levels to the frontline of a rare American/International business. A MUST MUST read!
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VirtuousV More than 1 year ago
Everyone is so busy trying to network, make the right connections, finding the best opportunities and looking for the next big deal. Have you ever thought that maybe you should stop, breathe, and take some time to learn from those that have already paved the way for business success? These days with so much technology, we tend to concentrate more on getting the latest, faster speed, and improving our online presence while sacrificing business improvements, lessons learned, best practices, quality, mentoring each other and providing excellent customer service. Starbucks have the answer. Use Starbucks as a business resource to help you move forward. The Starbucks Experience is a must have for any business owner.
CarlosDelaCruz More than 1 year ago
Hola, me gustaría comprar este mismo libro pero en español para Nook. Gracias,
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Starbucks executives claim that the company's customer-friendly, socially responsible policies amount to a new business model, and author Joseph A. Michelli generally agrees. Certainly the company has been innovative and wildly successful. Unfortunately, Michelli's decaffeinated, artificially sweetened account of Starbuck's retailing prowess often reads as though the writer is giving a boost to the company's PR department ¿ and the book cover design doesn't help, with its Starbucks signature colors, logo (dutifully trademarked, as is every mention of every cup of Frappucino®) and inset of the brown, corrugated paper the company uses for cupholders. Some of Michelli's examples of Starbucks' caring policies are banal ¿ opening early or providing a free cup of tea are not major innovations, nor are they transferable examples. Yet the book usefully illustrates how far good service and community relations can go. Each chapter provides a readers' guide and sidebars about how to apply Starbucks principles to your business. We recommend sipping it for applicable tips and interesting stories.