Monday, December 29, 2008

Starbucks Oatmeal: The Oatmeal Wars, Part III

I was walking through the airport one day a few weeks ago on my way to LA, saw that Oatmeal was now being offered by Starbucks. Having an idea of what good oatmeal should taste like, I wanted to try some but wasn’t particularly hungry. This week, with 14 inches of snow on the ground christmas day I decided to walk over to the local starbucks at 21st and overton and give the oatmeal a try. Blech! Its advertised with this picture of beautiful oatmeal and all these fluffy letters talking about ‘wholesome and nutritious’. Turns out, its just rolled oats with some hot water poured over them. nothing more than instant oats. For fruit: some really dry and hard raisin things, its clear that craisins are superior topping for oats. The brown sugar wasn’t awful, and a little packet of nuts (no, nuts do not go on oatmeal).

Avoid the Starbucks oatmeal. For the price of it, you can buy yourself a box of quaker oats, ask for some hot water, and be just as well off.

What they COULD have done, to actually do something truly customer oriented, would have been to have real oatmeal cooked up in each store in the morning, served fresh with craisins and some organic brown sugar. Charge 3.25 and everyone would be happy. When you attempt to cheat customers with solutions that only go half way you can tweak your balance sheet in the short term but in the long term you create negative value. Starbucks no longer has any brand trust with me. I can’t trust their baristas to have any pride in their work and I can’t trust their food to have any authenticity to the ‘premier experience’ they are trying to create.


KimPallister said...

Starbucks is the new mickey d's.

I don't mean that in the "it's total crap" way that you might mean it, but rather: As a customer, I might choose starbucks at times where I'd prefer a consistent mediocre experience over an unknown one.

Random burger joints in strange cities can be awesome, or roach-fested grease pits. Mcdonalds is 'meh', but you know what you are getting even across an ocean.

And while something like stumptown beats starbucks hands down, I've also dropped by random coffee joint that sorely disappointed.

Sometimes I'm in the mood to take a chance and hope to discover something wonderful. Othertimes, I've got an hour before a meeting in a strange city, I want coffee I know is going to be ok, wifi I know is going to be there, etc.

I hear you on the oatmeal. I've not even been tempted to try it, nor any of their food dishes as of late.

Chad said...

Dude, i tried the oatmeal and was disappointed. I'm pretty sure (per the taste) they have the same supplier as the Target brand instant oatmeal packages.

Keep on rockin' the Red Mill Steel Cut jive.