Why Starbucks Closed its Doors for a Day

Up until last night, I thought I knew why Starbucks closed its doors back on Feb 25, 2008 - they were stopping to re-educate their baristas. Publicizing it as they did, it thought it was a pretty clever PR effort, sending the message that they are refocusing their efforts while training at the same time.

Interestingly enough, MarketingVOX posted today, based on some new market research, that not many actual consumers received the message that Starbucks was doing it to improve the customer experience. It seems that Starbucks' competition pounced on this - Dunkin' Donuts offered a $.99 latte, and Biggby Coffee and Coffee Klatch gave drinks away.

But as I mentioned, there is more to this story than simply whether consumers got the message. Back on Feb 21, Starbucks laid off 220 employees, another nugget of info that I don't think too many people knew (including me admittedly). I was moderating a panel for TiE-Arizona last night and one of the panelists (Sam from David & Sam PR) mentioned how Starbucks did the closing not only to train, but to make the most of the layoffs situation - staying in front of the story, showing that they're making good moves, and also to motivate the remaining employees. Again, pretty smart if you ask me.

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