Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

You can check the answer of the people under the question at Quora “best hot coffee at starbucks reddit

0 thoughts on “Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?”

  1. Starbucks makes better coffee than you can
    Espresso machines take up an awful lot of counter space
    The machines available to you, not the commercial kind they have at Starbucks, don’t work awfully well because they aren’t designed to be used a lot
    You don’t have to clean or otherwise maintain the ones at Starbucks
    You would have to keep stocking the syrups and sprinkles and other crap that make Starbucks coffee beverages what they are
    Making coffee in your kitchen is not at all the same as going out into the real world and standing in line, potentially talking to other humans and feeling connected to reality
    Do you need another reason not to leave your house? I don’t think so.

  2. People rarely order plain coffee at Starbucks. That’s not their bailiwick. Their key products are high-end coffee-flavored milk drinks, such as lattes. The dark, astringent brews that Starbucks makes are well suited to those drinks: the milk proteins binds to the bitter compounds, while the dark roast also brings out many other strong flavors.
    There are those who like Starbucks coffee just the way it is, and that’s purely a matter of taste. But they’re not the Starbucks key demographic, at least not any more. They did introduce the US to the idea of not-awful coffee, and their success is one important reason why you can get good coffee in many places now.
    The kinds of coffee drinks that Starbucks makes are still not universal. Better beans, better brewing, and better storage methods mean that today you can run into 7-Eleven and get a decent cup of drip-brew coffee, but they don’t make lattes. Lattes (and cappuccinos and other fancy drinks) still require both fancy equipment and a skilled operator. (Very expensive machines can do a decent approximation, actually, but they’re not all that common.)
    Those coffee-flavored milk drinks aren’t really “coffee”, but people really like them (perhaps because they aren’t coffee, which Americans generally don’t have a taste for, preferring to adulterate it with flavors, sweeteners, and lighteners).
    Other companies do make them, but you’re going to end up paying nearly as much as at Starbucks. Starbucks has other advantages: they do a great job of marketing, they make themselves ubiquitous and insanely convenient, and they’ve got a well-known brand. I’d love to see people go more into independent coffee shops, but they’re not nearly as common as Starbucks, and they’re rarely going to be cheaper.

  3. Personally? I just honestly don’t give a crap about the cup of coffee I drink. I’m incredibly tired of this trend where connoisseurship is expended in vast quantity, often on meaningless things.
    I just want caffeine. Starbucks coffee contains caffeine. So does Folgers. So does a $5 cup of coffee lovingly brewed by a barista with pink hair at a LEED Platinum certified coffee shop.
    I just do not care about coffee. When I want a cup of coffee, I will go to the nearest place that sells it. Luckily there’s a Starbucks on every block.

  4. Why do people still go on about Starbucks when they claim they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else, and leave the rest of us alone?
    One of the great mysteries of the ages, pondered by swamis and mystics alike.
    Everyone else said everything I could want to say on this, so let me just point list my agreements.

    I go for the frappes and love them
    I go for the very friendly people behind the bar
    I go for the really comfy furniture if you’re lucky enough to find one of their plush chairs or couches empty
    I go because they make me feel special, like I’m not just a cup of coffee to them, a sale, but an appreciated person
    I go for the free wifi
    I go because some McDonalds actually feel scary as people with actual police records have caused disturbances many times in the McDonalds I used to live near and the staff didn’t do much about it
    I go to piss off coffee snobs who apparently really need to care about where the hell I get my coffee

    My question to you, person.
    If you have such a great and cheap coffee shop, why aren’t you over there, slurping your great and cheap coffee, minding your own business? *eyeroll*
    Shoutout to my home ‘Bucks at the corner of Dundas West and Quebec Ave in Toronto, Canada! Best ‘Bucks in the city! =D

  5. My preferred coffee shop is Starbucks, alas my local store closed as a result of the lockdown. Each week I meet the girls for a coffee morning, we can be anywhere between 2 and 8 of us. Starbucks was always our regular meeting point, but since it closed we alternate between Nero’s and M&S cafe.
    Nero’s can get quite full and we don’t often get the comfy sofa and arm chairs, but still get a good goss in. M&S do nice cake to go with their coffee.
    Back to Starbucks, I find the consistency of my drink of choice is so much more consistent at Starbucks than anywhere else.

  6. Well, as a non-coffee drinker, I have never visited a Starbucks of my own volition. It’s always someone else who is asking me to meet them there.
    As for why others do it… well, it’s usually not for the coffee.
    Starbucks simply fills niche in modern cities: it’s a place to meet, relax and waste time fashionably.
    Legend has it that some people even manage to get work done there. But I mostly see people socializing or just killing time to their next appointment.

  7. There are some great answers here so I’ll just throw in my subjective reason for going to Starbucks. Two words: S’mores Frappucino.

  8. I think for people like me, it’s convenience. I travel for work, driving between the Milwaukee area and Chicagoland to visit clients. I usually need a place to stop in between meetings and get a cup of coffee, answer emails, or work on a proposal. When I stop at a Starbucks, I know that I will get at least reasonably good Internet access (better at the stores that have upgraded to Google Internet), a hot cup of good coffee, and can usually find a power outlet if I need one. If you avoid the espresso based drinks, they are not expensive (iced coffee, iced tea, hot tea or a nonfat Misto, aka cafe au lait everywhere else). And I can pay and tip from my smartphone. I have a couple of local shops near my house that I also frequent, but when on the road, I can almost always find a Starbucks within 5 miles of my location.

  9. Starbucks is great.
    A lot of people cry over the loss of the family-owned cafe, and blah blah blah. But let me tell you: Starbucks is awesome. The reasons are very simple. As an American living in China, sometimes (all the time) you don’t need to have a cultural experience. You’ve been here for years — what you need is reliable air conditioning, wifi and a non-smoking environment to sit and use your laptop. The coffee is irrelevant.
    A massive corporation like Starbucks presents that guarantee — and that is worth way more than whatever they charge for the coffee.

  10. I don’t go there for the coffee, I go there for the wifi and the ability to work somewhere that’s not my house. When I am interested in coffee, I go somewhere that makes good coffee, or make it at home 🙂

  11. Let’s start with the question, the author’s opinion is built-in that other vendors have “better coffee” for “half the price”, “virtually anywhere else”. Personally I don’t agree that all three of these factors exist simultaneously. Perhaps some have better coffee, but certainly not for half the price, and few vendors have the number of outlets that Starbucks has. Why do I prefer Starbucks? First of all, my preferred brew is light roast, which I have a hard time finding, Starbucks has Willow and Veranda, and often a light roast blend. Secondly, I prefer the “pour over” in other words they grind and brew it right there in front of me, and it is consistently good. Also, the sheer number of outlets means I can get what I want when I want it every time. My cup is $2.05 with tax, hardly breaking the bank, why would I go elsewhere to save a few pennies and not get what I want? The WiFi is nice too.

  12. I’ve had this question since Starbucks graduated from the Pike Street market in Seattle. It was a novelty back then and I went there when bought salmon. I’ve tried their coffee. It is . . . coffee. With stuff in it. A lot of sugar flavorings. The nearest 7–11 has coffee as good but without the “bling”. It is the bling that people are buying, not the coffee. Starbucks has become the “Coach” of coffee. You can buy an imitation Coach bag made in the same factory by the same people with the same materials as the brand name at one tenth the price except it is called “Couch”. Same thing. Same with Starbucks. People expect to get a superior coffee drink but it is the same as the competition, except in their minds. But, in the end, it is the buyer’s money and they can spend it as they wish.

    Eight O’Clock

  13. Because of two things; the convenience, and the atmosphere that Starbucks has been striving to create in their cafes.
    Starbucks is dedicated to creating, within their cafes, a “third space,’ a place that is not home, and not work, but different from both.
    That’s why so many people go to Starbucks for their coffee. It’s for the atmosphere, for the feeling, for the welcoming.
    It makes you glad you’re there.

  14. Yeah..first thing which I observed is eventhough coffee is available in normal locations..where price is half to that of starbucks…people go to starbucks ..juz to have a self satisfaction and they have something proud feeling to inform to their friends. .saying I have went into starbucks and had cup of coffee

  15. Like most other fast-food outlets, the answer is consistency. Every Starbucks will be of the same quality as any other no matter where you are. Any good sit-down restaurant in the US can make you a hamburger vastly superior to what you would get at McDonald’s, but if you don’t know that particular restaurant, you go to McDonald’s and get exactly what you expect. Most independent coffee shops can usually turn out a decent product, but you don’t know that for sure until you try them. If you’re satisfied with the Starbucks product, you know what to expect at any of their locations.

  16. I’ll tell you why I love the chain. I go there more for their signature drinks than their straight up coffee. I’ll admit, I don’t care for their Pike’s coffee much. But my favorite item on the menu is a Java Chip Frappuccino. Or some other coffee-based Frappuccino. I believe Starbucks scores high in other things, like espresso-based drinks and some seasonal/limited time drinks. Plus, the baked goods and sandwiches are quite good.
    Plus, I have to admit, I like the brand and vibe.

  17. I really like Starbucks drip coffee.
    In terms of flavor and caffeination, it compares favorably to that of the average local coffee shop.
    In my experience, Starbucks employees tend to take their job more seriously than employees at an average coffee shop. I have never had a bad experience at Starbucks, whereas with random local coffee shop, sometimes you get a crappy watered down beverage.

  18. It’s not just about the coffee.
    Starbucks sells you a lifestyle, ambience and a place to meet people. They sell you a cool factor. People will pay millions to be cool.


  19. i learned a concept called conspicuous consumption in one of my electives which states that people consume some products just because that are expensive and people know it.

  20. The simple to Starbuck’s success it that they realized long ago they are a pharmaceutical company. As such, consistent dosage is the driving factor of the whole organization. Patients can expect the caffeine content of the user’s preferred delivery medium to be calibrated within very tight tolerance, at any time, any location, worldwide. Starbucks has also expanded into other drugs, including sugar.
    Independent shops are all over the map and wildly inconsistent.

  21. Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?
    Because I like a light roast, black coffee, no sweetener, and I have not found a better coffee anywhere in town. Our one-and-only Starbucks is inside a grocery store, and has absolutely no seating capacity, so for me, it IS about the coffee, not the ambiance.
    The cost for my coffee (volume for volume) is about 50 cents more than anywhere in town, so not even close to double the price.
    This is why I have had a ‘gold’ card since 2007.

  22. Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

    With the risk of this message being thought of as with sarcastic or a slap in the face, the image above is the reason I frequent Starbucks—and for that matter use Starbucks coffee in this coffee pot.
    I find it a little inconvenient to carry the Cuisinart around with me to make a small pot when I want a cup. I prefer Starbucks to other chain or local shops for consistent quality and decent customer service. And the price for a small or medium cup of black coffee is reasonable.
    NOTE—I said a cup of BLACK COFFEE!! Since I am not into the liquid candy bars that some folks seem to crave, I’m not shelling out $6 for a shot of espresso and a cup of sugar.
    Using Utility Theory…I derive sufficient pleasure from the incremental expense of a cup of Starbucks coffee purchased at one of the many stores here in Manhattan to make the purchase worthwhile.
    Hope this answer explains my particular rationale from both intrinsic and exogenous perspectives.

  23. Starbucks has clean bathrooms and reasonable WiFi. I meet clients and coworkers there as I travel – it’s very convenient. I drink their coffe when I’m there, otherwise I look for higher quality.

  24. I would call B.S. on that statement
    Starbucks isn’t the best coffee but it definitely has it’s place in the food chain.
    The worst coffee is at gas stations like 7–11, you never know how long it’s been sitting there, it often tastes burnt snd stale and is cooked into those glass pots. They only have those nasty International Delights shelf stable cups of cream that you have to inspect to make sure aren’t unsealed and curdled and you need like 6 of them to get your coffee to that nice beige color I like and you’ve created a small environmental catastrophe with all the plastic cups you’re throwing out. If I drink gas station coffee something weird is going on like it’s 5:00 AM, nothing else is open, I’m driving to the airport and didn’t have time to make coffee at home. There are some premium gas station chains that are an exception though like Kum&Go in Colorado that has machines that grinds and makes the cup of coffee on demand.
    The next rung up is Fast Food Coffee, it’s not Pikes Place but it can be decent if the fast food place is well ran and clean. It can be just as nasty as gas station coffee if it’s a ghetto fast food place where the people don’t care.
    Starbucks is on the next level and I would say Duncan Doughnuts is it’s rival. I don’t like Starbucks Dark roast but the Pikes Place is good and I know what I’ll get if I’m somewhere with limited options. Dutch Brothers is a new chain that I’ve discovered in recent years that is in my opinion better than Starbucks.
    Coffee better than Starbucks is most small Mom and Pop owned coffee shops. What keeps me out of allot of these places is the long lines, having to wait for people to get stupid fancy-pants special drinks like Lattes and Cappuccinos (sometimes happens at Starbucks too though). The prices can sometimes be a little excessive at these places too, I have seen places cut you a deal if you bring your own mug though which is cool.

  25. It is all a matter of taste. I like Starbucks bold blends — Sumatra, Tribute, Christmas. I like strong coffee black, no sugar. I don’t driink the blended drinks. I also don’t drink it for the caffeine — I do decaf. And I buy the Starbucks beans and drink it at home. I’ve tried a lot of the fancy new roasters in town and none of them makes a brew as rich and full flavored as Starbucks.

    Personally, I don’t know why people drink their Pike’s Place blend, which does taste like an imitation Dunkin Donuts that you could get for less. But that is their taste.

    I don’t know why people drink Miller Light when they could drink a craft beer, but they do.

    It’s not all about the marketing — it’s also about the coffee.

  26. The coffee machine isn’t going to follow you around all day and provide air conditioning or a place to sit.
    I do agree. If you leave home to get plain coffee to go every day at a coffee shop- you’re a moron.

  27. Some day I’m going to get rich when I write my book on how to get rich through mediocrity. The key to success not having the best coffee. The key is to be consistently mediocre(never bad), heavily marketed, and eliminate your competition through aggressive expansion and buyouts.
    Initially Starbucks got off to a good start by taking a different approach from what traditional coffee shops had taken. Instead of catering to hippies and students, Starbucks went for business people and suburban soccer moms with expendable income to afford a $4/day habit. They put in shops downtown and most featured drive-thrus (a completely offensive notion to most serious latte-making coffee snobs). They supersized traditional Italian drinks, doubling and tripling the sizes, and loaded them with extra milk and sugar for the American consumer.
    Once they got on a roll, there was no stopping the momentum. Higher volume means they can buy coffee much cheaper than independent shops. Ubiquitous brand recognition meant they could charge more and people would pay. The eliminated the need for skilled baristas by switching to fully automated espresso machines which lowered quality and expense, but cranks out consistently mediocre drinks. They bought up or drove the competition out when they enter a market, soon even those who knew the difference forgot what really great coffee tastes like.

  28. Starbucks started off as a small store inside Seattle’s Pike Place Market. They’ve been experimenting with business models and focusing on the qualities and dynamics that constitute that perfect cup of Joe since 1971.
    They sample 150,000 different cups of coffee looking for the best Arabica beans and ethically source their business venture by having a mutualistic relationship with crop farmers.
    In addition to this, part of our training as a barista is knowing what factors could ruin a batch’s aroma and taste: For example:
    -Using unfiltered water
    -Wearing perfume or cologne
    -Not properly sealing and storing coffee beans and grounds
    -Using too much or too little coffee grounds
    But here’s the real kicker man, and I had an epiphany once I started working here, people will pay twice as much for a cup of coffee if it makes up for the customer service, freshly brewed coffee, free wifi, and talking to friendly baristas to get your drink just right.
    The espresso machines that Starbucks has are top of the line. Definitely not something you’d get at a grocery store or something. Every part of our job is clumped into routines that restart or revert back to the beginning constantly. (Routines we are expected to follow like robots)
    We have timers that we clip onto the poor guy that gets stuck brewing the Joe and dump the old coffee every 15 minutes (← This timer varies depending on how much we’re brewing)
    So that’s probably why I’d say that Starbucks is so popular. Gorgeous college students walk in with their laptop and sit down with their Apple EarPods and are able to order a drink as painstakingly complex as they want, to their heart’s content. The company culture and history behind their name and logo is pretty interesting. Their coffees are researched and ethically sourced. And Starbucks gives their baristas a pretty healthy wage and benefits. More benefits than any other service job I’ve had.
    -Employee markout (Free pound of coffee every week)
    -Employee meal (Salad, paninis, any sized drink)

  29. I ‘ve asked myself that question all the time and now that i see some of the answers I will ask…but why the huge line on the drive through??? Every morning that i drive my kids to school we pass by Starbucks, this one in particular has a drive through and it’s looooong…so every time my kids ask me to buy them, i will tell them…only if the line is short. 😉 of course…it never is. Now, are those people going to meet people, have a free wifi, feel kool??? maybe they don’t know how to make coffee at home and like to spend money…sad but true.

  30. If you want a fancy espresso drink and you find yourself in Middle-America, USA, it’s surprising but true that Starbucks is one of the few places you can find that. Drip coffee, sure, but if you want a latte or something like that– it’s Starbucks or drip.

  31. I so agree with you. The point is that all these brands like Starbucks have created a supreme brand image in the minds of the people through intensive advertising.
    If you are looking for a different,unique,flavourful taste of coffee, do try Love and Latte. Being a coffee lover, I strongly recommend this. Its aromatic and made of perfectly crushed handpicked beans. You won’t regret the taste of this, I can assure that.
    I use this link to buy their coffee, you can try the same.

    Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

  32. Not counting the two Starbucks, there are 20 coffee shops within walking distance of my house.
    Walking there gives me some needed and enjoyable exercise.
    I have no idea how to make a latte. Even my French Press coffee is horrible.
    I meet some interesting people (and a few lunatics) at the coffee shop.
    The Romanian couple who run the Good Earth coffeeshop are charming, the youngsters who own Hide and Seek have wonderful baked goods, Eileen’s is cozy, Taste caters to celiacs, Pure Vanilla makes wonderful pastries, Discovery is funky. Actually every shop has a personality (except Starbucks which are boring and sterile).
    I can’t people watch at home.
    If I didn’t go out for coffee, I wouldn’t have a chance to read the Times-Colonist and count the number of whale stories they print. (Honestly, I think it’s kinda creepy.)

  33. If the product, in this case coffee, is not the best I stop using or buying it. I use this in all my purchases regardless of size or type of product. The other starred points are secondary to me. I’m looking for the best product for my money, which I have found in a coffee company based in San Francisco called Cup of Luxury. I suggest you go non their site, try their coffee and see if you go back to Starbucks.

  34. Starbucks is a chain. Its popular because its everywhere. I know tons of people who go to starbucks soley because even if it isn’t the best. Its reliable no matter which store you go to.
    You are bound to receive the same quality drink because of the way starbucks trains its employees, starbucks is fast compared to other chains.

  35. couple thoughts:

    the prestige
    addiction (be it to the coffee, the brand, the environment, etc)
    they have a gold card which offers a cornucopia of awards (http://www.starbucks.com/card/rewards)
    ignorance – they don’t know any better or are afraid to venture to indy baristas; there is an ongoing joke on the nature of charbucks coffee
    the proliferation of locales which offers a fair degree of consistency no matter where one travels globally
    the crowd be it hipsters, suits, post/pre-workout crew, etc
    the full meal deal – stores now offer a fine array of breakfast sandwiches + sweet baked goods in addition to libations
    free wifi
    hours of operation – most are open quite early + fairly late
    lastly, the soy lattes – i’m hooked + it does manage to drown out the burnt undertones of the coffee bean without adding a buttload of sugar or fat to the mix! good for those of us trying to keep our trim silhouette.

  36. I was a barista for Starbucks for 7 years and from my experience: people who care about the coffee are the minority. Most people come for the baristas, speed-of-service, or the space.
    Starbucks makes it possible with a “Just say yes” policy, which means… if a customer asks for it, say yes to any reasonable request. Of course, in practice it depends on the store. But at my store, we were always on the customer’s side.
    I worked at a fantastic neighborhood store and I wrote a post about some of the things we did here: For your Customers, Just Make it Happen

  37. The goodwill of the brand here plays the role. People get influenced along with their peers, to prefer Starbucks to just fit in the group when they can actually drink 1000 times better coffee! LOVE N LATTE for example is the bessttt coffee I have had! Trust me, drink LOVE N LATTE instead.. that is heaven in a cup! Love ittt

  38. Why buy anything when you can make it yourself or buy the machines to make it yourself? Because you’re probably lazy like every other human being. Or you don’t have time. Starbucks is popular because of people who grab a coffee on the way to work, hang out with friends at their shops, people who don’t want to make coffee themselves and rather have it made and not worry about details.
    Then there are people like me, who avoid Starbucks at any cost because their coffee tastes like lemonade without sugar…

  39. I have 2 comments on this.
    Firstly when you travel internationally Strabucks and their “third place” philosophy assure me of power, wifi, coffee of at least an average standard and a relaxed environment to plan my next move. People are nice, people will help you (staff particularly) – it’s like a decent airport lounge 🙂
    In places like Sydney – where you can undoubtably get better coffee I still go to Starbucks because I know the coffee will rate a 5/10. I’m fed up with having a 9/10 brew one day, then a 1/10 burnt offering the next – a bad coffee can ruin your day quicker than a good one can make it. Starbucks spend time knowing their customers and it got to the point my coffee was being brewed while I walked in the door. I could skip lines, pay with connivence – get a large sized coffee – people watch while I do email and deal with the day ahead 🙂


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  41. We (Spotistic) analysed Foursquare comments for 2000 Starbucks in the USA and their local competitors.
    We realised that people did not really mind the quality of coffee/food at Starbucks . They are more interested in the quality of service: wifi,staff, line, bathrooms. It confirms what Mark Harrison and Thierry Blancpain said.
    For local cafés it is totally different. People often complain about service and wifi while recommending a delicious tea/chocolate/latte/expresso.

    Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

  42. Firstly, there’s the beverage issue, which has been so well addressed by Joshua Engel that I’m not going to do anything more than add an upvote.
    However, there’s a separate reason, which actually is hidden in the way the question is worded:

    Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

    Note carefully, the question isn’t:

    Why do people still drink Starbucks coffee when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

    Starbucks isn’t just about the drinks, it’s about the ‘coffee shops’.
    If I go to Starbucks, I am inevitably going to talk to people and/or work. The typical Starbucks is somewhere I can use in lieu of a rented office – and the price of the coffee, on that basis, is half the price charged just for the coffee in a typical ‘offices by the hour’ joint… oh, and I don’t get charged for the table.
    I’ve met suppliers in Starbucks, I’ve had team meetings in Starbucks, I’ve talked a friend out of doing a $1,000,000 deal in Starbucks (and subsequently been thanked with the person who did the deal instead watched it go pear-shaped in exactly the way predicted.)
    What Starbucks actually does for me (as a 40-something Englishman) is give me all the benefits of a pub, without the expectation that I’m going to drink alcohol. (And this, by the way, hinges heavily on your understanding the difference between a North American bar, and a traditional British pub.)
    I understand that Starbucks use the term ‘Third Place’, and for all that sounds like marketing BS, it actually works.
    Now, let’s add predictability – if I’m in Horsham, or Oxford, or Crawley, I don’t go to Starbucks, because I know a better alternative. If I were to pitch up in, say, Petersfield, or Manchester, or Glasgow… then Starbucks is predictable.
    So, a predictable Third Place for a meeting (or to work on something for an hour between meetings) that sells the coffee-flavoured milk drinks that Joshua likes – that’s a winner for me.

  43. Convenience mostly. Imagine this:
    you get up and have to work at 7, 8, or whatever, you could get up an hour earlier than usual to shower, get ready and make your coffee and then clean your mess up, or you could sleep in a little longer and go get a coffee, even order online or over the phone so you don’t have to wait and spend the extra money.
    You might still say that you would rather save your money and lose the sleep, and I applaud you for that if that’s the case. However, there’s always going to be a client base that would rather spend the money in order to reduce their morning routine because of the convenience.

  44. There is a mistaken assumption in the question. “Better coffee at half the price” is not available anywhere else. Starbucks is ubiquitous in the US. Other chains or individual shops are not to be found as frequently nor as conveniently.
    In my town, there are 14 Starbucks, including the one inside airport security. There are three Dunkin’ Donuts. There are no Peets, Caribou, Cosi, or any other chain. There are around 20 places that tout their coffee as being really good. Sometimes they are; sometimes they aren’t. Starbucks is consistent.
    I don’t usually go to Starbucks for the social aspects. I do appreciate the WiFi when hurricanes knock out my power at home, though. I go because I can get a reliable, reasonably good cup of coffee.

    Victor Allen’s

  45. I used to be a Peet’s Coffee guy and I still prefer the taste of their coffee over Starbucks. One thing that Starbucks does well, is that they make it so darn easy to be loyal. Their loyalty iPhone app makes patrons feel like just by going to Starbucks over another coffee shop, they will get rewarded relatively often with free drinks.
    When someone introduced me to the Starbucks app, I was hooked. I feel like Starbucks was really smart to realize that as long as they put in the effort to get you to switch (free refills, loyalty program), it is cheaper to keep you coming back. Competitors could probably learn a thing or two there because from a volume standpoint, it’s really not just about which coffee is better but rather which experience makes the customer feel better about shelving out > $1.50 for a cup of coffee despite the abundance of cheaper alternatives out there.

  46. Starbucks is consistent …been to lots of other shops and they are not by definition better – coffee is bitter, weak, or flavorless. I go for the environment for conversation with friends, for meetings and these days the air conditioning. I have first name relationships with the baristas and my closest shops.

  47. Good marketing- Starbucks is considered more luxurious than DD, and lifestyle- it’s easier to buy coffee on the way to work than make it at home, and maybe people like the social aspect too?

  48. The Marketing! The Design! The Consistency!
    I mean…the cup feels right in your hands!
    The staff behave as if they come from a similar tribe! There is definitely a lot of bells and whistles behind the scene!

  49. I don’t go to Starbucks for any of the reasons many of the answers include. I like the taste of their coffee. It is a matter of personal preference I suppose. I like my coffee to be very strong flavored and you just don’t get that many places. I used to think Dunkin Donuts had acceptable coffee and even occasionally would buy McDonald’s coffee but before Starbucks came around all you could get from most places was a watered down version of coffee. I still find most coffee vendors and restaurants serve a weak, unflavorful cup of coffee.
    Now that Starbucks has been around a while I am sure there may be other places that serve a similar brew (strong, rich flavored coffee) but I have not found any nearby.
    I don’t buy their froufrou drinks, I don’t go into the coffee shop to sit and mingle or whatever others do there–I go to pick up a strong cup of coffee when I feel like it. Otherwise, I buy the whole beans (Starbucks bold blends) and grind them at home to make my own strong, rich flavored cup of coffee.
    Just because some think you can find “better” coffee at half the price somewhere else doesn’t mean everyone agrees with that assessment.

  50. Where is this mythical place where you can always find places better than Starbucks? I live in downtownish Chicago, so I’m familiar with them, and always go there, but at my work 30 miles away it’s the best option.

  51. First of all,

    When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion , creatures bristling with prejudice, and motivated by pride and vanity.

    —Dale Carnegie
    As in: They like the experience . They don’t really have a logical reason for it. One may think our behaviour is based on logic, but it very rarely is.
    Let me illustrate this: I don’t often buy at Starbucks, but when I arrived in Tokyo after a long flight, everything seemed strange and alien. Then I had to unpack everything because a customs agent didn’t like backpackers. After that I longed for something familiar, easy to understand. I stumbled into a Starbucks and enjoyed a familiar experience that I could easily categorize.
    Many people like to do that every day. Not just at Starbucks, but at your favorite french press coffee spot, too. It’s just that Starbucks solved this longing for a very large group of coffee drinkers.

  52. Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

    It’s not just about the coffee. Starbucks is one of the most successful brands in the world because it doesn’t just sell coffee. It sells atmosphere and culture. What can you sell? In a similar way, what is your company selling? Is it just a product or a service? Or are you selling an experience? A quick way to find out is to look at your company mission statement. If it just focuses on the products or services you sell, it’s not necessarily a good thing. Your company is a brand, and if it is not selling an experience, then you are missing a big opportunity to grow.

  53. The coffee at Starbucks is aweful and undrinkable without milk and/or sugar. My guess is that many people simply have very low standards regarding coffee. When I worked in the UK, pretty much all my colleagues were drinking instant coffee at work! Compared to instant coffee, Starbucks is classy!
    I go there mainly for the sofas: I like to chat, work, read or even sleep there for a while. I even considered buying my coffee elsewhere and filling it in a Starbucks paper cup, but that idea became too impractical…

  54. I must not live virtually anywhere, because I have never seen this place of which you speak. I live in a growing town of 50,000 to 60,000 population, and the only competition to Starbucks here is three different donut shops (all chain operations that don’t really specialize in their coffee varieties so much as they do the donuts) and a drive-thru only coffee shop.
    Now, I’m saying all this as someone who doesn’t even like coffee, and doesn’t even agree that there is such a thing as good coffee, let alone better coffee. But I will say, for those who like coffee, want variety, and want a place to enjoy it while hanging out, Starbucks is the go-to place. The place that you think exists virtually anywhere doesn’t exist here, so Starbucks is the default.

  55. The premise is flawed.
    I’ve searched for a cup of coffee that can compete with a plain old Pike Place. I’ve paid twice as much at high end coffee places. I’ve tried Diedrich’s, Peet’s, Coffee Bean. I’ve tried fast food joints and independent coffee shops across the country. For the most part, I’m getting sour coffee, or hot black water, no matter the origin or roast. Starbucks is simply better.Bold, full flavored, yet smooth. Never sour.
    I go to Starbucks because it’s better. And it’s better whether it’s made on high-end equipment in the shop or at home in my cheap machine.

  56. Because American consumers are plain dumb. They care more about appearance and prefer style over substance. Whether folks admit it or not, they think an $8 cup of coffee is a status symbol. How dumb is that?!?!?!? Not sorry to those that this may offend.

  57. Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?
    “People don’t buy what you do, but why you do it” – Simon Sinek
    You may have heard of this saying before by Simon Sinek , who is one of today’s top influencers.
    Simon Sinek says people buy the “why” behind everything more than the “what”.
    We value experiences, stories and the emotional attachment more than the facts and logic. We value the journey that something provides for us because we humans are emotional creatures, although very logical (but logic takes a lot of energy, and emotion doesn’t).
    But this is not why Starbucks is successful. Starbucks is successful, and is able to charge more for the same product that other coffee shops sells is because of one thing…

    Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

    Starbucks started off targeting a very niche market that is now fairly broad because they kept grounded with their core values.
    When you think of Starbucks you get a feeling of casual, indifference, relaxed, peaceful, standing out from the crowd , sort of emotional feelings.
    They want you to enjoy your experience with the coffee rather than using it as a way of waking up in the morning. They can charge more because now the coffee is perceived as sort of higher quality or more luxurious .
    The only thing they want you to remember about Starbucks is the experience you had with their coffee, and how it made you feel.
    If you see the way people walk around with their coffee its almost as if they think their better than everyone else because of the fact that you drink Starbucks.
    What Starbucks has done was they created a culture, a group of people that resonates with their values and experiences.
    They attract the people who believe in what Starbucks believes, and it makes you despise other coffee shops, and gives a level of superiority.
    What most companies lack, especially coffee shops is culture . Most coffee shops fail to target an audience that resonates with their brand. This is why Starbucks can charge higher for more premium coffee. If they charged any less, it will be perceived as lower quality even though it’s the same quality of coffee you might be able to find anywhere else.
    Starbucks Strategy #1: When you go to Starbucks they will always write your name incorrectly on your coffee cup so you can laugh and take a picture of it to post on social media. This makes their customers market their brand for them.
    Starbucks Strategy #2: Their circular tables are no mere accident. They intentionally create circular tables because science says circular tables make it easy to build trust with the person you are speaking next too.
    These are some of the few but many strategies Starbucks uses to create this culture of peacefulness. professionalism, and a place where you can collaborate with others.
    I don’t know many other coffee shops that provide the same environment where people can get together and talk. If you are meeting an old friend or wanted a quick business meeting, you might think to go to Starbucks. But any other coffee shop might look unprofessional and cheap.
    Now you are probably wondering, “How can I possibly use this to my advantage or use it towards my business?”
    To be able to provide this same effect is not something that can be done over night. You need to focus on your companies core values, and what kind of ‘story’ or message you would like to display to your ‘target audience’.
    Everything you do for your business whether it’s blogs, images, website, advertisements should all resonate around your core values. This keeps things consistent and displays to others that you have a strong brand.
    Hope that helps!
    If you would like to know more about applying Starbucks strategies to your business, click here to message me privately.
    Sachin Kaushal – Marketing Guy

    Why do people still go to Starbucks when they can have a better coffee, for half the price, virtually anywhere else?

  58. The short answer would be community, a place to go besides home or work to get stuff done, and convenience.
    People clearly don’t go to Starbucks to save money on coffee. It’s other factors that bring people in.
    Most return customers come back for the convenience and because they feel like a part of the community.

  59. Personally, I only go to Starbucks when I’m traveling and don’t know where a good indie coffee shop is. I’ll take Dunken Donuts coffee over Starbucks any day, but when you pull off the highway and are confronted with the choice of some random convenience store’s coffee and Starbucks, its the obvious choice. I first went to Starbucks on a regular basis when I lived in Beijing at a time when there really weren’t any other coffee options – I used to drink McDonalds coffee on a regular basis. Now I go to Beijing Starbucks when I want a big cup of coffee- while there are really good cafes here, they tend to just do espresso drinks. Sometimes you want an enormous cup of brewed coffee to drink for an hour.

  60. They charge about two dollars for a regular medium coffee. Most coffees that size will cost at least $1.60. If they are closest to your work, that’s where you go.

  61. The overall environment that welcomes them. And like Bruno said the marketing, design and consistency. Overall their brand strategy.
    You can get a good cup of coffee anywhere else in most cases, but not the way in which the Starbucks experience delivers it.

  62. What do you mean “by half the price, virtually anywhere else”?
    A cup of coffee cost virtually about the same in the ranges of $1.50-$2.00
    for all the coffee places I can think of: Peet’s, McDonald’s,
    Where do you get the idea you can get a cup of coffee for $0.75. You mean inside one of those gas stations that sell left-over coffee from yesterday? eww.. No Thanks.

  63. Starbucks coffee is cheap. Here in England it’s £1.55 for a tall filter plus refill. Aside from that, there’s free power sockets so it’s a great place for bringing laptops to do some work or for an emergency recharge of your phone. Better than any library (more widespread, better opening hours, more snacks/beverages, more bustling so it’s easier to focus and not get distracted by the dull silence of nothingness, and besides, in my local library the internet time is limited).
    McDonald’s does nicer coffee for cheaper (£1.29), but since you don’t get a refill Starbucks works out cheaper!

  64. The real answer is the death of curiosity in the American consumer, coupled with the utter steamroller of mega-corporations with respect to small businesses.
    It’s not even necessarily that Starbucks is closer or more convenient physically or economically; it’s a brand that (analogously to Kleenex or Coke) is literally a stand in for “coffee”. It’s not a coincidence that hipsters love it and you see always half a dozen Mac users at Starbucks versus even the progenitor business if Starbucks: Peet’s Coffee.
    It’s all about the brand. Which is truly an unfathomable concept if you are a classic capitalist. Once something experiences enough success, there is no going back to obscurity for the demographic that was present to watch it explode in value. It becomes one of those social constructs, like a religion but with less formality and more tithing.
    You can analyze is until the cows come home, but the dead horse is dead because people liked to beat it so much. It’s a cruel world for the proverbial horse.

  65. I agree with alot of above – the new McJob is a barista at Starbucks – people who aren’t looking for gourmet burgers go to McDonalds, people who aren’t looking for gourmet coffee go to Starbucks.
    I think there is also the issue of addiction – for many a Starbucks coffee was their first and now they are hooked! They wouldn’t appreciate a Handsome Roast.

  66. 1. They are everywhere and really convenient.
    2. The service and drinks are consistently good. I like being able to go pretty much anywhere and getting the exact same drink I would if I was at home.
    3.I like their sandwiches/trays because they are convenient and fairly healthy.
    4.Local coffee shops don’t always have creative drinks (I like the blended drinks and tea lattes).

  67. Convenience. Starbucks is available almost anywhere. At the same time, it also has a good ambience for meetings and the prices of its coffees are very friendly.

  68. The question isn’t correctly phrased. Coffeewise, often you pay even more and get lesser quality than at Starbucks. Or you might get better coffee for a little less. But you never know. I’m always for independent coffee stores, if they are better. But in new places it’s a gamble, and Yelp often doesn’t help here. With Starbucks you always know what you get and it’s decent.
    And then, as many have also commented, it’s not only about the coffee. There’s customer loyalty incentives and free wifi to count in. In Berlin and Hamburg, I know I can get better coffee at the regional chain Balzac, but no free wifi (in fact, no wifi at all). So it’s not an alternative. In England Cafe Nero makes better coffee sometimes, but they’re more expensive than Starbucks and surprisingly inconsistent for a chain.
    So all in all, Starbucks is a pretty good deal.
    And then, of course, taste does matter. Someone here mentioned McDonald’s coffee as a better alternative. All I can say to that is: yuck!

  69. Short answer : Consistent (and known) quality espresso based drinks at an affordable luxury price point. The drink tastes good and the emotional return on splurging on yourself justifies the price.
    The same “affordable luxury” coupled with consistent quality applies to a lot of markets and products. Apple has built the most valuable non-oil based business around this concept.
    Long answer : You can’t get better espresso based drinks at “half the price” elsewhere — at least not conveniently and consistently. My town has delightful independently owned coffee shops that offer superior espresso based drinks. None of them are conveniently on my way to work or anywhere else — they are all destination stores. None of them charge “half the price” of Starbucks.
    You can put in the effort and money into making an espresso based drink at home. But that requires a fair amount of up front money (couple of hundred dollars for an espresso machine), access to good quality and fresh coffee beans, and the time and energy to put it together.
    You could also go to 7-11, but they aren’t exactly brewing expresso based drinks there (not a comparable product to Starbucks).
    You could pay more and get a much better quality product — but there is no mass market appeal here, and such purveyors remain niche (but profitable) players.

  70. I am living in Tokyo Japan. There are many coffee shops here like anywhere else in US but the most popular place to drink a coffee is Starbucks. Yes I also go to Starbucks whenever I want to have a coffee. I couldn’t say they serve a better coffee because we don’t know which one is good or bad. However one thing I could say why many people prefer Starbucks is they give us most comfortable environment than any other coffee shops. Many people here in Tokyo just love Starbucks just like iPhone.
    I think Starbucks is just good at branding.

  71. People pay for ambiance and service as well as location Starbucks have great locations as they pay more rent and their service has been tweaked to perfection over the last few years

  72. That’s actually incorrect.
    All of the independent coffee shops in Toronto that craft espresso beverages are a lot more expensive than Starbucks.
    Their coffee does taste a lot better than Starbucks thought.

  73. Where can you get just as good coffee for less? Starbucks seems to be right at the same price as all coffee shops and their coffee is consistently good. I am in Colorado with many independent coffee shops.

  74. The coffee may be sub-par but they do actually have amazing tea, and for about £2 it’s a pretty nice place to go when you feel like a quality full-leaf tea in a silk tea bag in a nice big mug 🙂 as for the coffee, like everyone else has said, its more about the shop than the product (unless you order tea!)

  75. “Better” by what standard exactly? Even unambiguously burnt coffee has a market when you call it “French roast”.
    Now, it is true that Starbucks isn’t to everyone’s taste. They use a very dark roast (oddly enough, Peet’s is even darker), and I would imagine their quality suffers a little just based on the sheer amount of coffee they have to buy every year, but as a general rule, I think they have a fine product as long as you like a dark roast. If you prefer a lighter, more acidic coffee, you ain’t never gonna like no Starbucks nohow.
    If nothing else, you can see them as a minimum standard for good (dark roast) coffee. Their quality control is generally about as high as you can reasonably expect from such a vast company, and beyond that the ambience of their cafes is generally very relaxing.

  76. Starbucks coffee isn’t that expensive. It’s also not very good, as you’ve noted. If you drink black coffee, as I do, you’re probably going to prefer Stumptown or Blue Bottle over Starbucks.
    Starbucks makes their money on the milk-and-sugar-loaded drinks, like lattes and cappuccinos. Those are expensive, and the bitterness of the coffee isn’t a problem. As for why people go, the same question could be asked for any brand, and the answer is that people know what they’re getting.
    You won’t be getting substantially cheaper coffee at a known chain store. There are delis in New York that have decent coffee for under $1, some are great and some are terrible, but you don’t get the floor on quality that you get from a brand.

  77. Because sometimes it’s not about the coffee, and obviously it’s not about the cost. It’s about the experience. I’m not saying your going to walk in to a Starbucks and have a wiz bang experience, quite the opposite, people go because they can count on their coffee tasting the same from one store to the next(for the most part) Starbucks has made coffee buying and drinking as familiar as going to a friends home and that’s by design and it comes with a cost, a cost many people are willing to happily pay.

  78. Where I live, I only know of one place that has the same variety of coffee drinks for even *close* to HALF the price…and they’re only open until noon, and their coffee is about the same as far as I can tell. Starbucks is open all day & there are more locations & they make the types of coffee drinks I like.

  79. Starbucks was the first fast espresso joint with tons of loacations available to people in the USA. They did what no one else was doing. You can get any kind of coffee drink you want at Starbucks and yes they actually serve espresso (Although you’d never know it, based on the Dairy Queen like products that make the bulk of their sales). Who else was doing this at the time STarbucks came on the scene? Not Gloria Jeans (who are confined to indoor shopping malls), not McDonalds, Not KFC, No one
    It’s not just girly girl Legally Blonde types that go to Starbucks. It’s lawyers, mechanics, students, construction workers, etc.

  80. When I travel for business, I always go to Starbucks. It’s consistent, you know what to expect, the service is typically good to great, the workers quickly and efficiently take and provide your orders. You are able to purchase both coffee, tea, and food items, as needed. Why wouldn’t you go to Starbucks? You are paying for the convenience and the expected experience. I have never had a problem with my order or level of service. Maybe, I’m just lucky but I’m sure others could say the same thing.
    For all of us Starbucks lovers, enter to try to win a year’s worth of Starbucks with the link below. Good luck!
    Starbucks® Gift Card

  81. It’s mostly down to taste and availability.
    I personally would always choose another option where possible as Starbucks coffee isn’t the best (in my opinion/taste), but as they appear in so many places, they are often the only option (beyond vending machines, etc). I’ve also found their coffee can vary much more in quality when compared to others.
    My favourite go to coffee shop here in the UK is Costa coffee.
    But yes, independent coffee shops are often better or, at the very least, offer coffee that is just as good and for a cheaper price.


  82. The discussion of Starbucks reminded me of a heated debate about whether Starbucks is high-end enough to be located in palace museum in Beijing. Some local authorities argued that Starbucks is equivalent of the cheap fast food chain. The Palace Museum needs something more unique and exclusive than Starbucks for tourists to have some drink and rest, for example, a fancy Chinese tea store. Personally I think that logic is really premature, if not ridiculous. Starbucks is grassroots indeed. Products are affordable to most people. It satisfies a longing for something familiar for many American tourists who do not know too much about Chinese cultures.

  83. I have not found your assertion to be true.
    I recently conducted a survey of coffee prices in my hometown, comparing the prices of 12 ounce cups of coffee.
    It appears that, pricewise, for a cup of coffee, Starbucks is near the low end of the restaurants, donut shops and coffee shops that I surveyed in my hometown:
    Here are the prices I found:
    La Gabriella Coffee Shop $2.55
    Babe’s Doughnut Co. $2.50
    The Village Cafe ¢2.50
    Denny’s Restaurant $2.49
    Gogh Gogh Coffee Co. $2.25
    Harvest Coffee Shop $2.25
    Minuti Coffee $2.19
    Starbucks $2.04
    Peet’s Coffee $2.00
    Dunkin’ $ 1.99
    IHOP $1.99
    McDonald’s $1.71
    Shipley’s Donut Shop $ 1.69

  84. I’ve said this before. “You don’t go fishin’ for fish. You go fishin’ for fishin’.” Same with coffee houses. You go there for the atmosphere and experience. There are some coffee houses that do server a superior cup.
    It is no different than going to a bar, only cheaper.

  85. Frankly, I don’t go to starbucks for the coffee. I go for their flavoured latte’s, fraps, mocha’s etc, which are not as..colourful in taste than other coffee houses. But when I want a straight up espresso based late, I opt for smaller coffee houses with italian blends.

  86. I go to Starbucks for their coffee latte (or just “latte” as they call it), and their refreshers. A big reason for me is that you can get pretty much the same thing wherever you are, so I wouldn’t have to take the chances and spent the money trying out every little coffee shop when I go to a new place.
    Honestly I haven’t run into many coffee shops with better coffee and half the price with Starbucks hummm….

  87. Actually, I take exception to the premise. Before Starbucks it was virtually impossible to consistently find a full (some call it dark) roasted coffee anywhere save for specialty coffee shops. Now, with the convenience of the locations of their stores, such a coffee is readily available.

    Starbuck’s coffee is consistent, available, and appeals very much to those who savor the flavor of their coffee.

  88. Thats true, there are multiple places where you may get better coffee than Starbucks, and at a cheaper price. But why I choose Starbucks, despite being costlier is actually due to multiple funny reasons.
    One is the comfy chairs. Sometimes when I have to work from home for two to three month project ( as I am in consulting projects with Accenture strategy), it usually gets bored at home. At Starbucks with one cup of coffee, I can sit for around 5 hours comfortably and get my work done.
    Free WiFi: oh yeah, good enough reason, but usually I use my own net if I have client calls. Else I use their wifi for general browsing.
    Good ambiance and friendly people. Usually the place is quite in the afternoon, and thats the time when I visit. Mostly I see people working there or enjoying coffee alone. The place is never very crowded ( atleast the one I visit). And I have met few people who are actually friendly and come up to you to talk as well, if ofcourse you are interested.
    A funny reason, but I love the smell of Coffee at Starbucks. That smell i dont usually get in other cofffee shop. Maybe its not true but whatever.
    And yeah, even their restrooms are pretty clean and smells nice, as usually they have put their fresheners which has a pleasant smell.
    These reasons are enough for me to visit their store atleast once a week.
    Follow me on Instagram: user name: sanskriti309


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