Your Barista is also a marketer
I was up early this and went over to the local Starbucks for a Venti dark roast as I do most mornings. I owed Buzz Rooney a blog post, so I took my iPad and sat down to write that, instead of getting a to-go cup like I usually do. This led me into an interesting experience.
About 7:15 am, all these people rolled up into the Starbucks and started pulling chairs together. It became quickly obvious that I was sitting about 3 feet from a gathering of Starbucks baristas about to engage in some sort of meeting.
Turns out it was a meeting related to the introduction of a new product, and a tasting. The person conducting the training had glasses, and samples, and some very interesting notes to share about the products. I found it fascinating to eavesdrop on the training process, as they shared tastes of the drink, provided information on the caloric content, the sugar content, and even details on how caffeine was in the drink. (More than you would get from a soda, but not as much as you would get in a regular Starbucks coffee). He solicited questions and comments on the taste, and asked the baristas to discuss ways to suggest the drink to customers.
It’s very clear that people slinging cups of coffee at Starbucks are expected to be more than just coffee makers and smiley faces. They are product experts and product marketers as well. That’s how great companies get it done today. Marketing begins on the floor, or behind the coffee counter!