Fantastic Four Poster

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The attempt of our research was to determine what factors differentiated Starbucks to be the premium choice for customers, college students in particular, when up against all other coffee selling stores. Our hypothesis considered factors such as accessibility, variety, quality, customer service and the store’s atmosphere. In order to conduct our research well the Fantastic Four team took a look at what the literature was saying about Starbucks and these differentiating factors. The literature makes known that the Starbucks does distinguish itself from independent stores. Method Discussion Starbucks vs. Other Coffee Shops Emmanuel Esquivel, Danielle Everly , Idalia Perez and Ashley Thompson Azusa Pacific University Chart #1 Chart #2 References Literature Review Results Research Design This study focused on surveying coffee drinkers on their overall experience when choosing Starbucks vs. a local coffee shop. A total of 26 college students participated in the study based on survey completion Responses of graduate students from the online questionnaire on were analyzed by the website and by the researchers. The researchers hypothesized that “ The experience of Starbucks based on accessibility to stores, variety in coffee options, quality in taste … In looking back at all the literature articles and reviews we collected to create our survey, there definitely seemed to be a theme around the concept of familiarity, convenience and customer service, being important factors when choosing a coffee shop to frequent. Berta, D. (2014). THE METHOD TO STARBUCKS' MAGIC.  Restaurant Business ,  113 (3), 40-47. Retrieved from


Literature Review As indicated in Moon and Qulech’s (2004) article, “Starbuck/Delivering Customer Service,” the differentiation between independents and Starbucks stores are as follows: Independents stores are social and inclusive, diverse and intellectual, artsy and funky, liberal and free-spirited, lingering encouraged, appeals to young coffeehouse customers and intimidating to older/mainstream coffeehouse customers. And Starbuck stores are everywhere, the trend, good coffee on the run, place to meet and move on, convenience oriented (i.e. on the way to work), accessible and consistent. In an interview with Millman (2016) and Stanley Hainsworth, Starbuck’s former Vice President Global Creative, would further these claims by attributing the store’s atmosphere to be the contributor for the customer’s selection due to the intentionality he had in creating Starbucks to be a “community, a third place” where “people not only come for great coffee, but also connection to a certain culture.” This branding vision has “impacted every decision about the {store] experience” such as store appearance in its furniture selection (to provide just one example) (Millman, 2016). The importance of store appearance is furthered by the article, The Coffee Shop: Social and Physical Factors Influencing Place Attachment, which is a qualitative study that focuses on the characteristics that encourage gathering behavior and contribute to the overall decision making of consumers to choose coffee shops based on appearance of the coffee shop itself. The findings indicated that the top five design considerations were: cleanliness, appealing aroma, adequate lighting, comfortable furniture, and a view to the outside, which are all factors that came into consideration in the process of Starbucks store design and culture. This value of building a place for community is why the innovation of accessibility was fostered through the incorporation of social and digital media, which lead to mobile orders giving the customer access to faster service (Kaplan, 2014). This plan for accessibility also included Starbuck’s plan (back in 2010) to open up 600 new stores in the United States with improved customer service and coffee techniques (Berta, 2014). These factors of store atmosphere, accessibility, service and quality has shown to increase customer consumption in the 18-24 year olds by 31 percent from 2010 (Berta, 2014). As well in different study with another population (graduation level students) who recognized themselves as typically avoiding Starbucks, still admitted to occasionally going to Starbucks when in a strange place (i.e. another country) or when in a pinch and agreed there was a sense of comfort and familiarity (C.J. Thompson, Z. Arsel, 2004). This idea is furthered in another study when it was determined that prior experience and familiarity ranked as the number one reason to choose one coffee shop over another (Burge, 2013).


Literature Review In light of this literature we also found that there were other factors that were considered that we did not in our hypothesis such as “wireless convention” (Blank, 2007). In particular this factor, wireless Internet connection, was found in a small study to be important for customers by 95% when choosing to camp at Starbucks or an independent coffee shop. In addition another factor that could be considered is Starbuck’s humanitarian causes with fair trade growers, thus allowing the customer to, “not just drink coffee, but support causes…” (Ruzich, 2008, p.439). In conclusion, our twelve article review highlight many areas of similarity when considering the contributing factors for choosing Starbucks over another independent store, such as accessibility, quality, customer service and the store’s atmosphere. This than leaves the only factor we considered in our hypothesis that was not mentioned in any of the articles was variety with no particular reason at all. It was just felt out of the conversation. As well these articles also provided us with two possible new factors to consider which are wireless connection and humanitarian causes.


Method Participants : Participants were undergraduate and graduate college students between the ages of 18-30 years old. Materials : 10 survey questions using Survey Monkey. A nominal scale was used for 8 questions, in which the possible answers were: strongly disagree, disagree, neither disagree nor agree, agree, strongly agree; and 2 questions were open-ended questions.   Procedure Four researchers (Ashley, Emanuel, Danielle, & Idalia) designed the survey questions and submitted them to OIRA for approval. Once researchers received approval from OIRA, they uploaded the survey to SurveyMonkey to make it available to the participants. Undergraduate and graduate college students received a link to the survey either via email or via text inviting them to participate in the study. The participants were informed that the survey was for research purposes and that participation was completely volunteer. Participants were also informed that the survey would take less than 10 minutes to complete.  


Results customer service and atmosphere will have more college students choosing their services versus a privately owned coffee shop”. The results of the quantitative questions from the survey highlight that the participants (graduate students between18-years-old – 30-years-old) are drawn to Starbucks over local coffee shops for the location, availability of WiFi, and quality of coffee. In survey question 1 “Location is important when choosing to go to Starbucks vs a local coffee shop”, 69.23% of participants either agreed (42.31%) or strongly agreed (26.92%) (M=3.85 SD=.97). Survey question 2 highlighted the availability of WiFi as a distinguishing factor for participants choosing Starbucks over local coffee shops (M=3.7 SD=1.26) wherein 65.39% of participants answered agree (34.62%) or strongly agree (30.77%). Survey question 6 provided that 53.85% of participants choose Starbucks over local coffee shops due to quality of the coffee (M=3.73 SD=1.14). Survey question 3 asked if survey participants valued customer service generally when deciding which coffee shop to choose but did not pit Starbucks vs local coffee shops (M=4.5 SD=.58). The three factors within the survey questions that were least impactful to the participant choosing Starbucks over local coffee shops were the cost of coffee, the variety of coffee options, and the variety of food items beyond coffee. When looking at the results for these questions (survey question 5,7, and 8) the distribution of answers were either more evenly spread out or cumulated more in the disagree, strongly disagree categories. The inclusion of the option “Neither disagree nor agree” affected the outcome of the results as it, on average, accumulated 25.82% of the participant answers for each question. The qualitative questions asked were, question 9 “What is the main reason you decide to have buy coffee at Starbucks vs a local coffee shop?” and question 10 “What type of atmosphere do you prefer when deciding to go to Starbucks vs a local coffee shop?”. Of the 26 participants surveyed, 25 answered both qualitative questions. An analysis of the responses provided for question 9 highlighted that the main reason the participants choose Starbucks over local coffee shops is that of, “convenience” and “brand recognition”. Of the 25 answers, 3 participants expressed choosing Starbucks over local coffee shops. The results for question 10 highlighted that the most common reason participants choose Starbucks over local coffee shops were, “comfortable”, “it’s quiet”, “seating”, and “not crowded”. Of the 25 answers, 6 participants claimed that Starbucks does not offer a more desirably atmosphere than other locations. Overall, the results support the researcher’s hypothesis while also highlighting drawbacks for the graduate student participants for choosing Starbucks vs local coffee shops. Again, the most poignant factors based on the survey results was that the participants choose Starbucks for cost, availability of WiFi, and quality of coffee, as well as convenience and brand recognition.




















Discussion Starbucks is quite easily accessible being that “it operates cafés in all 50 states and in 37 countries; you can find it in airports, libraries, casinos, hospitals, and even churches” (Clark, T. 2007). This concept was proven with the results of our survey being that nearly 70% of our respondents chose either agree or strongly agree when asked “location is important when choosing to go to Starbucks versus a local coffee shop”. In many of the responses to our self answer questions about why one would choose Starbucks over a local coffee shop, many of the respondents stated things such as the familiarity with the menu being important, therefore knowing what they like and they can go to any Starbucks location and order this item. Other responses stated items such as the consistency, quality of the coffee products as well as the ease of access, since here in Orange County you can pretty much get to a Starbucks location in a matter of minutes. In the article titled Strategic Analysis of Starbucks Corporation, one of Starbucks’ listed core strength was that “they provide free wifi, great music, great service, warm atmosphere and provide an environment of community meeting spot, which forms a wider part of the ‘Starbucks Experience’” (Geeredy, N. 2013). So it seems that not only are people going to Starbucks simply for the convenience of location and access as well as quality factors, but also for the experience itself. One question on our survey asked our participants if the cost of coffee influenced their choice in coffee brands. The results indicated that the majority of our participants strongly disagreed with this question, proving to us that they would rather pay more for quality coffee that they are familiar with. Throughout our literature review articles we could see a theme taking place that centered around Starbucks being the leader in the coffee industry which allows them to grow faster as a company and provide more and more locations for the consumers. This along with their dedication to high quality coffee and customer service has lead to them being the leader in the coffee house industry. Although some participants of our survey leaned a little bit the other way with some of the questions, the majority seemed to agree with what we had initially predicted, that grad students will prefer to choose a Starbucks location over a private coffee shop, due to the factors listed above. Some limitations of this study are that we mainly focused on distributing our survey to grad students within certain age limits. The findings could possibly change if the survey were to reach a larger audience demographically speaking, but we believe that it would not change significantly. The data that we gathered as a group helped us to establish and refine our hypothesis and survey questions. The information was relevant and helped us to created a survey that was unbiased and


Discussion easy to understand. Some further research in this area might include touching on topics of the likelihood of individuals to try out a new local coffee shop as well as their likelihood to continue to return to Starbucks for their coffee needs if they were able to find a local coffee shop that they enjoyed just as much. One of the articles touched on this but we think it would be interesting to gather more information on the globalization of Starbucks, and that alone enabling them to grow as quickly as they did, whereas other coffee shops and chains do not have that type of benefit, therefore affecting their growth in the industry. In closing we believe that the results were a fair representation of the general public’s opinion on this topic. We are also grad students and can see how easily accessible Starbucks is, making it very convenient in between school and work. The findings of our survey were not surprising and definitely supported our hypothesis. In conclusion we believe that Starbucks has a string advantage for many reasons in the coffee industry, over smaller coffee shops simply for its ease of access, familiarity, quality and vibe. We as a group enjoyed participating in this project and feel much more prepared in participating in research as well being able to access research data.


References Berta, D. (2014). THE METHOD TO STARBUCKS' MAGIC.  Restaurant Business ,  113 (3), 40-47. Retrieved from Blank, G., & Van Vooren, N. (2007). Camping out in the Coffee Shop World: A Sociological Analysis of Coffee Shop Conventions. Conference Papers -- American Sociological Association , 1. Retrieved from   Burge, S. (2013), 'The motivational reasons behind consumer choice in branded coffee shops', Reinvention: an International Journal of Undergraduate Research , BCUR/ICUR 2013 Special Issue. Retrieved from Clark, T. (2007). STAR B*#!KED.  Psychology Today ,  40 (5), 98-102. Retrieved from Geereddy, N. (n.d.). Strategic Analysis of Starbucks Corporation. Scholar Harvard . Retrieved February 26, 2016, from Kaplan, D. A. (2014). Starbucks: the art of endless transformation: Howard Schultz knows that even the most successful companies need to perpetually remake themselves to keep from losing steam. Inc, (5). 82.Retrieved from Millman, D. (2011). How Starbucks Transformed Coffee From A Commodity Into A $4 Splurge. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from Monaco, M. (2013). The Best Coffee Shops Near 50 College Campuses .  The Daily Meal.   Retrieved from: Moon, Y., & Quench, J. (2004). Starbucks: Delivering Customer Service. Harvard Business School, 9 (504), 16th ser.  


References Ruzich, C.M. 2008. For the Love of Joe/ The Language of Starbucks. The Journal of Popular Culture. Vol. 41, No. 3. Retrieved from   Thompson, C.J., & Arsel, Z. (2004) The Starbucks Brandscape and Consumers’ (Anticorporate) Experiences of Glocalization. Journal of Consumer Research. Vol 31. Retrieved from Waxman, L. (2006). The coffee shop: Social and physical factors influencing place attachment.  Journal of Interior Design ,  31 (3), 35-53. Retrieved from:

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