Has Starbucks jumped the shark?

What's next... undead baristas?

Jeff Nolan revisits the phenomenon of the now strangely soulless Starbucks (here).  I’ve opined on SBUX’s travails a number of times (here, here, and here). 

Sadly, my initial optimism was misplaced.  A true “back to basics” movement may well have worked, but it hasn’t materialized.  As Jeff notes, all the changes are half-baked or contradictory:

Fewer cookie cutter stores but still cookie cutter in nature, expanded non-coffee products like smoothies and pastry products, and replacement of old automatic espresso machines with new automatic espresso machines. Someone needs to send Schultz the memo he wrote… 

Also, my personal experience is that service has remained inconsistent — ranging from interested to indifferent and back again.  Today’s Starbucks experience was typical.  One associate remembered my favorite drink, but the serving barista barely got it to me within 15 minutes (they weren’t that busy).

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