Monday, January 14, 2008

Coffee Talk

I'm a huge Starbucks (STBX) fan and I'm a tea drinker -- go figure. I drink tea at home and in restaurants, but will go out of my way for a tall, skinny, extra-hot, vanilla latte any day. I'm a shareholder, too.

So of course I've noticed that STBX is in the news these days and I'm hoping those of you who own independent coffee shops; are nonprofits that benefit from your local STBX community relations programs; or are experts on retailing, beverages, customer service or other related topics are lining up outside the doors of your local media outlets to comment on two related news items that keep popping up:
  1. McDonald's is installing coffee bars with baristas (but I'll bet they won't call them that)
  2. STBX founder Howard Schultz has returned as CEO
This is a great business story, so independent coffee shop owners should be talking now to their local media about why this McDonald's development won't hurt their business -- and talking again when the local McDonald's starts selling lattes, cappuccinos and frappuccinos.

If I were assigned a feature on this topic for my city's business journal, I'd want to talk to a couple of McDonald's franchisees, one or two local hotsy-totsy coffee shops from different parts of the city, the regional STBX manager, an appropriately credentialed professor at one of my area's many colleges and universities, the author of a David vs. Goliath-type business book, one or two McDonald's customers, and one or two STBX customers.

Help your local business journal write this story, using you as an expert source, by identifying some of these sources in your community and pitching the story. Feeling brave? Pitch the TV news assignment editors, too. It's not hard. And the payoff -- the media exposure -- will be worth it.

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