Entries in Starbucks (37)


Starbucks Customers Can Soon Pay With Their Phones

Starbucks Corporation(SEATTLE) -- Caffeine addicts and baristas who work during the frenetic morning rush can now rejoice. Starbucks has announced a partnership with mobile-payment platform Square that will soon allow customers to use Square’s payer app to expedite the process.

Customers will be able to use “Pay with Square” at participating company-operated Starbucks stores, about 7,000 in the United States, “later this fall,” the Seattle-based coffee retailer said.

The premise of Square, which Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey launched in December 2009, is that “everyone should be able to accept credit cards,” Dorsey wrote in a letter announcing the partnership.

The deal includes a $25 million investment by Starbucks and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz will join Square’s board of directors.

The company, headquartered in San Francisco, offers users a free app and free Square Card Reader to swipe credit and debit cards. Square takes a 2.75 percent cut per card swipe. Manually entered card numbers cost 3.5 percent plus 15 cents per transaction.

Starbucks fans will also be able to find nearby Starbucks locations and other local businesses within the Square Directory on their cellphones.

With the Square app, available for Apple and Android devices, customers link their credit card to their Square account. When they checkout at a store, their name and photo can appear on the register and a cashier confirms it’s you to complete the sale, according to the Square website.

If Starbucks’ millions of customers download Square and actually use it to pay for coffee, Square hopes more small businesses will sign up and accept Square payments.

“More than 2 million individuals and businesses can already use Square,” Dorsey said in a statement. “This partnership will accelerate our ability to provide them with the tools they need to grow their business and thrive in today’s economy.”

The two companies say more than two-thirds of the 27 million small businesses in the United States do not accept credit or debit cards, “in large part because of the expensive interchange fees associated with payment processing, cumbersome application process and required credit checks.”

“As an entrepreneur, I understand how critical it is for new businesses to have easy and affordable access to card processing while also giving customers a choice in how they pay," Schultz said. "Because Square’s revolutionary technology allows anyone to accept credit and debit cards, it gives entrepreneurs an essential tool to jump-start their business while providing existing small companies access to new customers.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gay Marriage Activists Try Again to Counter Chick-fil-A Day

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- After traditional marriage advocates came out en masse for Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last week, gay marriage activists are planning to swarm Starbucks on Tuesday to show their support for companies that offer same-sex partner benefits.

Tuesday's National Marriage Equality Day is a "direct response" to conservative commentator Mike Huckabee's Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, which the chicken company said led to "record-setting" sales last week.

"It felt like the right wing groups were showcasing Aug. 1 as 'This is how America feels,'" said Kirsten Ott Palladino, the editor of an online same-sex wedding magazine, Equally Wed, who, along with her wife, started the equality day effort.  "We are wanting to say, 'This isn't all of America and we can come out and support our businesses too."

The controversy began after Chick-fil-A's president, Dan Cathy, was widely quoted as opposing same-sex marriage.

"I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at him and say, 'We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage,'" he said.

Palladino told ABC News the day was originally planned as Starbucks Appreciation Day, to show support for a company that, unlike Chick-fil-A, supports same-sex marriage and offers benefits to same-sex couples.  But Starbucks managers asked Palladino to expand the effort to include other companies that are supporters of LGBT rights, a change Palladino said she happily made.

"In the end I think that I'm happier with it becoming this because it's not just supporting businesses that support marriage equality, but also non-profits that are working tirelessly and sometimes thanklessly to support marriage equality in this country," she said.  "At the end of the day it's not just about seeing how many lines we're wrapping around Starbucks."

Starbucks did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.  To see a full list of businesses the equality day is celebrating click here.

More than 28,500 people have said on Facebook they will join in Tuesday's appreciation day, about twice as many attendees as there were for the Chick-fil-A kiss-in that other LGBT advocates held last Friday.  About 12,000 people signed up on Facebook for the kiss-in, which urged same-sex couples to take a photo of themselves kissing outside a Chick-fil-A.

It's still a fraction of the 650,000 people who said on Facebook that they would attend Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day last Wednesday.

Palladino said Huckabee's "household name status" is what made his pro-traditional marriage event so popular.  Big name conservatives like Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum also posted their support for the Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day on Twitter and Facebook.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Starbucks to Open Inside Funeral Home

Starbucks Corporation(EASLEY, S.C.) -- As the owner of a South Carolina funeral home, Chris Robinson is in the business of helping people grieve. This summer, he plans to do that with a little help from Starbucks.

Funeral-goers at the Robinson Funeral Home in Easley, S.C., will soon find baristas in Starbucks uniforms serving lattes in the lobby, where Robinson is building a “Coffee Corner.” Robinson, whose family has owned the funeral home for four generations, said the addition of a Starbucks on the premises — complete with a Wi-Fi area, fireplace and television — is intended as one more way to comfort the bereaved.

“It should help families escape from the stress a little bit, having a private area to get their minds off of what’s going on,” Robinson said.

The coffee shop will not be a full-fledged Starbucks. Though its employees will be trained by Starbucks, they will be on Robinson’s staff, and Robinson’s agreement with the company stipulates that there will be no glowing green Starbucks sign outside the funeral home.

While the coffee is intended primarily for funeral attendees, it will be open to the public via a patio entrance.

Robinson, who owns two other funeral homes in the area, has been serving free coffee to customers for years. But when he realized his facility’s renovation would provide ample space for a coffee shop, he decided to upgrade his offerings. He turned to Starbucks, he said, because theirs is “the best coffee out there.”

Concerned that some “might get the wrong idea,” Robinson stressed that the Starbucks will be on the opposite end of the facility from the chapel.

For those who prefer Robinson’s homemade coffee, or who simply want a free cup of joe, Robinson said that option will not go away.

Starbucks will begin installing equipment and menus within a few weeks, Robinson said, and the coffee will begin brewing in August.

Calls to a Starbucks spokesperson were not returned Thursday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Starbucks Sells Made in America Mugs to Create Jobs

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Starbucks' line of American-made merchandise went on sale in stores across the country Tuesday. The Indivisible collection, which will be sold from June 12 to July 9, features made-in-America coffee, mugs and tumblers.

Starbucks will donate a portion of each sale to its Create Jobs for USA Fund. The fund awards grants “to help create and sustain jobs in underserved communities throughout America.”

According to the company, the fund has already raised more than $11.5 million, which Starbucks used to get loans for about $80 million in financing. Starbucks estimates the fund has helped create or retain 4,000 jobs so far.

“In these troubling economic times, we believe that we can all do our part to help make a positive impact on the jobs crisis facing our country,” Starbucks’ CEO, Howard Schultz, said in a statement.

The ceramic mug retails for $9.95 and the tumbler is priced at $11.95. Starbucks will donate $2 from each purchase to the Create Jobs for USA Fund. Starbucks is also offering a pound of American coffee for $14.95, with $5 going to the fund.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Starbucks ‘Transitioning Away' From Bug Dye

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(SEATTLE) -- Starbucks announced that it is “transitioning away” from using cochineal extract, derived from grinding up dried bodies of cochineal bugs, as a dye in its strawberry-flavored products.

“After a thorough, yet fastidious, evaluation, I am pleased to report that we are reformulating the affected products to assure the highest quality possible,” Cliff Burrows, president, Americas, wrote on the Starbucks website.

Burrows said he expects to be “fully transitioned to lycopene, a natural, tomato-based extract,” in the company’s Strawberries & Crème Frappuccino beverage and Strawberry Banana Smoothie. He said the company is “transitioning away” from the use of cochineal extract in its Raspberry Swirl Cake, Birthday Cake Pop, Mini Donut with pink icing, and Red Velvet Whoopie Pie.

Echoing what Burrows stated on March 29, after news broke about the use of the extract, he said on Thursday, “we fell short of your expectations by using natural cochineal extract as a colorant in four food and two beverage offerings in the United States. Our commitment to you, our customers, is to serve the highest quality products available. As our customers you expect and deserve better – and we promise to do better.”

The company initially said the extract reduced its use of artificial ingredients by using the extract from the insects, found primarily in Mexico and South America. Cochineal dye has been used as a coloring agent since the 15th century and is considered safe by the FDA. It is widely used for coloration in jams, preserves, meat, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products, cookies, cheddar cheese and many other food products.

It has been found by the World Health Organization, however, to cause asthma in some people and an allergic reaction in others.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Insects in Strawberry Frappuccinos? Starbucks Admits Bugs Behind Color

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- You can get your Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino venti, grande or tall.  You just can’t get it without insects, to which it owes its pink and rosy color.

In what the company says was a move intended to reduce its use of artificial ingredients, Starbucks has started using cochineal extract to supply its Frappuccinos’ strawberry hue. 

Cochineal extract is derived from grinding up insects, the dried bodies of cochineal bugs, found primarily in Mexico and South America.  Cochineal dye has been used as a coloring agent since the 15th century.

Before you get all bothered about your insect-infused Frappuccino, be advised: Cochineal is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration, and is widely used for coloration in jams, preserves, meat, marinades, alcoholic drinks, bakery products, cookies, cheddar cheese and many other food products.

It has been found by the World Health Organization, however, to cause asthma in some people, and an allergic reaction in others.

Starbucks’ statement, issued partly in response to vegans asking if the use of this ingredient makes Strawberry Frappuccino vegan or not, reads in full:

“At Starbucks, we strive to carry products that meet a variety of dietary lifestyles and needs. We also have the goal to minimize artificial ingredients in our products. While the strawberry base isn’t a vegan product, it helps us move away from artificial dyes. Many Starbucks ingredients can be combined to create a beverage free from animal-derived products; however, we are unable to guarantee this due to the potential cross-contamination with other animal-derived products in our retail locations.”

A vegetarian website,, brands the strawberry drink non-vegan.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Starbucks Opens First Ski-Thru Location

Starbucks Corporation(SQUAW VALLEY, Calif.) -- Starbucks stores seem to be popping up on every corner you turn and now, the coffee giant is hitting the slopes, opening its first ski-thru location.

Perched on a mountain at an elevation of 8,000 feet in California's Squaw Valley, coffee lovers can order any of Starbucks' drinks without even taking off their skis or snowboards.

ABC News reports the location will be open every day in the winter, weather permitting.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


California Man Sues Starbucks, Alleging Discrimination

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(SAN DIEGO) -- Starbucks faces allegations of discrimination from a job applicant who claimed he was "blatantly" discriminated against because of a disability during a job interview at one of the coffee chain's San Diego stores.

In court documents filed on Feb. 8, Eli Pierre, who was born with half of a left arm, alleged he "was not hired for the position because of his disability, despite his capable work history."

According to the complaint, obtained from Pierre's attorney Joel Larabee, on Feb. 1, after Pierre mentioned that his disability was not a problem for a barista position, a hiring manager stated, "Oh, at our store our syrups are up high, and I have to extend my whole body to pump it. You can't work here with one arm."

"We employ many individuals with a wide range of disabilities. A disability such as Mr. Pierre's would not disqualify him, or any other candidate, for employment at Starbucks," a spokesperson for Starbucks told ABC News. 

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"Based on our initial investigation, we found that Mr. Pierre's description of what occurred during the interview is vastly different than our own," said the spokesperson, who told ABC News that Pierre was considered for the position based on his responses in the interview and qualifications.

"We decided not to move forward with Mr. Pierre's application for the Mission Valley location," the spokesperson told ABC News.

The complaint filed by Pierre alleges that because of interruptions, the interview for the barista position lasted only about 10 to 15 minutes. After mentioning a part time-position at Victoria Secret, the interviewer turned to the shift manager, who was present during the interview, and said, "maybe he can help you find the right bra size."

The complaint states Pierre was "shocked and offended" by the remark "after being discriminated against based on his disability."

The suit stated there was "no discussion of any possible accommodations of Pierre, no discussion of whether he actually needed any accommodations, no discussion about how he could perform the essential job functions and no discussion of his past experience, which may be analogous to the position and duties at Starbucks.

"Pierre was simply summarily dismissed based on his appearance/disability/perceived disability ... without further investigation that Pierre could not do the job," stated the complaint.

In his lawsuit, 25-year-old Pierre has accused Starbucks of wrongful failure to hire in violation of public policy, wrongful failure to hire and discrimination in violation of the Federal Employment and Housing Act, failure to take steps reasonably necessary to prevent discrimination in violation of FEHA, failure to make reasonable accommodations and failure to engage in the interactive process in violation of FEHA, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

According to the lawsuit, Pierre is seeking payment of all statutory obligations and penalties as required by law; punitive damages; costs of suit; loss of income incurred and to be incurred according to proof, among other things.

"We have been advised that Mr. Pierre has filed a lawsuit based on his claims, and look forward to responding," a Starbucks spokesperson told ABC News.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Starbucks Bringing Coffee Shops to India

Starbucks Corporation(MUMBAI, India) -- Starbucks is heading to India.

The company announced on Monday it has teamed up with Tata Global Beverages, the second largest branded tea company in the world, to take the Seattle-based coffee chain to one of the world's most populous countries.

"We’re very pleased to have found the best partner for Starbucks in Tata -- a company that shares so many of the same values for conducting business in a way that earns the trust and respect of our customers and partners (employees)," John Culver, the president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific, said in a statement.  "We look forward to bringing the Starbucks Experience to customers in India by offering high quality arabica coffee, handcrafted beverages, locally relevant food, and legendary service."

Along with opening new coffee shops, the joint venture will also facilitate the creation of a tea for Indian consumers.

"[T]he companies have agreed to jointly leverage assets and innovation to offer a premium tea product branded Tata Tazo," Starbucks said.

The new stores are set to open across the country later this year, with the first ones popping up in Delhi and Mumbai.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Starbucks to Serve Beer, Wine at Select Stores Later This Year

Starbucks Corporation(SEATTLE) -- Ordering a "tall one" at Starbucks will eventually take on a whole new meaning at a few select stores.

The Seattle-based coffee giant said that it will be serving beer and wine in up to six stores in Southern California toward the end of 2012, with other locations in Atlanta and Chicago following suit.

The company rolled out serving alcohol in 2010 at its experimental Olive Way cafe in Seattle, with beers costing $5 each and glasses of wines listed between $7 and $9.

Figuring that serving adult beverages and premium food is the wave of the future, Clarice Turner, Starbucks' senior vice president of U.S. operations, said Monday, "As our customers transition from work to home, many are looking for a warm and inviting place to unwind and connect with the people they care about."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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