One of my small indulgences is the coffee cake at Starbucks. I’ve always loved digging into it with a fork and feeling its moistness in my mouth. Up until recently, it’s been served on a plate. They’d even heat it up for you if you asked. While I was waiting to order, I’d stare at the pieces in the display case trying to decide which one I’d like.
But apparently the company’s efficiency experts have gotten to my coffee cake. When I ordered it the other day, the barista reached into a drawer below the case, pulled out a piece wrapped in cellophane, and kind of tossed it across the counter. I wanted to yell, “This is not right! You’ve industrialized my coffee cake!” Then, realizing that there’s no going back, I picked it up and wandered dejectedly away.
Now, in an effort to save money and/or cut down on waste, I suspect some efficiency expert in Seattle decided that the customers will have to deal with assembly-line looking coffee cake from now on. After all, in a world of more important issues, customers need to settle.
Here’s the thing, however. Starbucks had conditioned me, and lots of others, to pay $2.75 for a small, but delicious morsel based on how it tasted and based on presentation. But in an effort to improve efficiency on their end, they’ve ruined the experience on our end. After all, anyone can buy a piece of cellophane-wrapped coffee cake at 7-Eleven for 99¢. The cake at Starbucks is just not that much better. What are decisions like this costing your company?