Shultz has spoken openly about Starbucks losing its way in recent years, which I took as a slight to previous CEO Kevin Johnson. Johnson earlier succeeded Howard Schultz as CEO, having previously served as the company’s president and chief operating officer from 2015 to 2017. On 16 March 2022, Johnson announced that he would step down as CEO, and Schultz would take over until a new CEO could be found.
Now Schultz says the company can find its way back and is betting on that by upgrading coffee machines in US shops at a cost of $450 million. Schultz believes the company can return to double-digit growth. The announced investment is an additional expenditure on top of the $1 billion already earmarked for 2022.
The strategy is aimed at speeding up in-shop delivery – a point that employees have also complained about. The investment in machinery will help speed up the delivery of food and the preparation of the complex drinks that are the darling of TikTok influencers and now account for about 70% of the company’s sales.
John Culver, chief operating officer, who recently announced that he will be retiring, spoke about the struggle the company is having with unionisation. Culver explained that the partners (as Starbucks calls its employees) can make the decision whether they want to work side by side to deliver efficient solutions or have a mediator between them (by which he meant the unions).