Tell Starbucks What You Want: More Free WiFi, Plugs For Laptops, Better Coffee…

Starbucks has launched a social customer feedback site that asks you vote on and submit your own suggestions to improve Starbucks. The most popular suggestion right now is (unsuprisingly) “give loyal customers the occasional free drink.” After that, free WiFi is suggested:

Starbucks needs to make ALL stores have free Wi-Fi. In Seattle I go to Tully’s, because of the free Wi-Fi, not superior service.

There are some seating requests:

More of the comfortable-type chairs (cushion) – fewer tables and hard chairs. Offer the bar-type seating in more stores.

And a suggestion for people with ordering anxiety (I love this one. I order “large coffee” and the people at Starbucks always say “What? Large coffee? What?” It’s like I’m ordering a Taco Salad.):

Starbucks should enable customers to encode their usual customized drink orders on their Starbucks cards and have a scanner available in the front of the store so customers can walk in the store, scan their cards and automatically have the orders 1) paid for off of the card, and 2) sent directly to the barista so the customers can bypass the traditional order line and are ensured that their orders are received correctly.

The best part of this website is the message from CEO Howard Schultz:

So, pull up a comfortable chair and participate in My Starbucks Idea. We’re here, we’re engaged, and we’re taking it seriously.

Oh Howard, of course you are!

MyStarbucksIdea

Comments

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  1. Shadowman615 says:

    Buzz beer?

  2. Beerad says:

    Hmmm, how many people in CA are going to submit “I’d like Starbucks to stop illegal tip-sharing arrangements imposed on its lowest-wage employees!”

    Har.

  3. Natheo says:

    Ordering anxiety? Are you serious? Are you worried about what the person working at starbucks is gonna think about how you speak their freeky deeky dutch?

  4. Meg Marco says:

    @Natheo: No. I am not serious.

  5. outinthedark says:

    I went to 3 local stores in Florida and most if not all the baristas and managers knew me and my close friend by name.

    At least once a week sometimes two we would get free drinks. Never asked for it always said thanks and always had a good relationship with them.

    I was like this with Gamestop as well. My local store gave me a free DS Lite charger because it wasn’t labeled correctly. Manager just handed it to me.

    It always pays to be a regular when you can. Just a simple conversation can turn into quite a friendship over time.

    Still good friends with a majority of those that are still in the area.

  6. Buran says:

    I think the order-card idea may come on the iPhone eventually — I’ve seen mockups of similar apps floating around. They already integrate iPhones with their music system, so why not with the ordering system?

    I agree on the free wifi. They are WAY overdue in offering free wifi as just about all their competitors have figured it out and even fast-food places have it now. What’s the incentive to linger (and keep ordering coffees) if you have to pay when the Panera/St. Louis Bread Co. will serve you coffee and free wifi?

    Where I live there’s a Starbucks and a STLBC down the street. Guess which one I’m more willing to linger in if I’m travelling somewhere and need to check in at work or something?

  7. NoNamesLeft says:

    Close down more shops?

  8. TheSpatulaOfLove says:

    I hope they return to using local bakeries they used to contract to for fresh pastries. The frozen-then-thawed preservative bombs they sell now are absolute crap.

  9. wring says:

    @Shadowman615: yes pls

  10. wring says:

    @Natheo: I just tell them “the one in the middle!”

  11. bricklayer says:

    @Meg Marco: When I order a “large coffee,” the barista (employee? clerk?) always corrects me-
    Me: I’d like a large coffee.
    Barista: One vente coffee, would you like anything else with that?
    Is that Starbucks corporate policy or something?

  12. Buran says:

    @bricklayer: Probably just a snob. They don’t act like that to me when I go there from time to time.

  13. Amy Alkon000 says:

    I don’t go to Starbucks like I used to because of all the asshats shouting into their cell phones indoors. I instead go to a place with a “no cell phones” sign.

    I do have to say, I was a fan of Starbucks for years, because I think they have a habit of hiring nice people or seem to have a corporate culture of being nice to the customer. And I always ask for a small coffee, and they seem to understand what I mean just fine. If they say “vente” or whatever, perhaps because that’s how they have it marked on their register, I don’t really notice or care.

  14. yesteryear says:

    im not a starbucks customer, but i am excited to offer my suggestions to them.

    -get better coffee.
    -stop pretending to be anything other than a fast food restaurant.
    -revamp tired 90s color scheme.
    -stop forcing customers to listen to that incredibly retarded ‘wrinkle my nose’ song

  15. yesteryear says:

    @Buran: how can you be a snob and work at starbucks? wait. now i’m being a snob.

  16. Bladefist says:

    @bricklayer: Starbucks is a lifestyle, you gotta use their vocab, and have your iPhone on standby for mocha emergencies.

  17. cockeyed says:

    This is at what they say at my starbucks: “So will you be having the usual?”
    Yep!

    they’re usually startled when I change it up, and now that it’s getting warmer, I’m going to be getting iced, so this may frazzle them.

  18. sixninezero says:

    How about stepping up to fair trade guidelines on all your products.

    Using not only local bakeries but local dairies when possible.

    A discount for those that bring in their own cup.

  19. cockeyed says:

    @Beerad: So are you saying that a boss taking a cut of tips from the employees’ tips is illegal? I used to have a manager that did this to “punish” the employees. I was a cashier, so no problem for me, but I thought it was a really shitty thing to do. This was at IHop, btw, so ALWAYS tip in cash, not on credit.

  20. Bladefist says:

    see how insulted apple and starbucks together. dang im good.

  21. cockeyed says:

    @yesteryear: To be honest, I would like to tell 90% of stores out there to change their soundtrack, but just not possible.

  22. Buran says:

    @Amy Alkon: Unfortunately, “no cell phones” signs don’t stop people. I’ve been to a Subway to get some food only to get stuck behind someone gabbing into his phone right in front of the sign. Next time that happens I’ll just step around him and start ordering, and if he raises a fuss, point to the sign and say, “Wait your turn.”

  23. oakie says:

    “The best part of this website is the message from CEO Howard Schultz:

    So, pull up a comfortable chair and participate in My Starbucks Idea. We’re here, we’re engaged, and we’re taking it seriously.’”

    seems like howie has never been to one of his cafes… there are no comfortable chairs. they’re all at tullys or zokas.

  24. SuffolkHouse says:

    I spend about $20/week at coffee shops. I stopped going to Starbucks because of the wifi. Screw Starbucks.

  25. GearheadGeek says:

    @cockeye: The salaried manager taking this is disgustingly unethical, if not illegal. I think the tip-pooling thing is questionable when the money is at least being shared among the underpaid hourly types (kitchen & bus staff) but if the manager is also taking a cut he should be shot. In the kneecap, preferably.

  26. oakie says:

    @bricklayer: “When I order a “large coffee,” the barista (employee? clerk?) always corrects me-
    Me: I’d like a large coffee.
    Barista: One vente coffee, would you like anything else with that?
    Is that Starbucks corporate policy or something? “

    actually, yes. they want you to use their lingo as part of the programming. just like how Coca-Cola probably has you calling every soda a “coke”.

  27. Shadowman615 says:

    @bricklayer: Yeah, I’ve noticed that before too. Still, I continue to say ‘large’ for any subsequent orders. Bonus points if they seem irritated. I refuse to memorize which of the three different words (that all seem to translate to ‘large’) actually means large.

    I do like that Dunkin Donuts commercial making fun of the same:

  28. cockeyed says:

    I think tip-pooling sucks. I’ve told my family that when you leave a bad tip at a restaurant, usually you’re punishing the whole staff, not just that waiter. But that doesn’t mean that I think a waiter who did a crummy job (when it is obviously their fault) should be tipped well.
    This IHOP got shutdown by corporate because they were doing A LOT of illegal/unethical things.

  29. DrGirlfriend says:

    I can understand why a barista at Starbucks would use the specific sizing lingo. They have, I think, 4 different sizes. Is a large a Grande, and a Venti an extra large? Or is the Venti the large? Who the hell knows. If the names they came up with are too confusing, you can also order by the ounce, as in, “A 12 oz latte” (which I believe is printed on their menu boards).

  30. SadSam says:

    @bricklayer:

    Me too, and since I don’t speak Starbucks when the ‘Barista’ corrects me I end up confused and we go back and forth to make sure I end up with the correct size. I think its just silly and annoying and one of the reasons I don’t regularly frequent the Bucks along with the fact that I don’t care for their coffee.

  31. REPTILE-DYSFUNCTION says:

    I know a Starbucks manager & asked her several months ago about free wifi at Starbucks locations. She said the problem is their long-standing contract with T-Mobile to provide fee-based wifi service. Thus, it looks like no free wifi until the T-Mobile contract expires.

  32. ElizabethD says:

    Cheaper prices.

    I just won’t go there. Who can afford that stuff? Well, I guess a lot of ppl can, but with my husband (still) out of work, it’s an unnecessary luxury for us.

  33. sixninezero says:

    I always order my coffee in ounce size, that way no matter what cute name the shop comes up with, I always get the size I want.

  34. riverstyxxx says:

    Meh, requires registration to vote or comment. Sounds like another idea in their favor.
    My ideas, even though I never go there (Since they’re probably reading this)

    1. Free WiFi (None of the Sb stores have this in orange county, down the block of any of them is a smaller, cheaper cafe that will fill this accomodation)
    2. Cheaper coffee! It’s just a drink ffs!
    3. Not have your employees bug me.
    4. Leave the bathroom doors unlocked instead of asking for a key. Big inconvienience.
    5. The place stinks and if I’m there for more then 5 minutes I walk out with my clothes smelling like coffee. Haven’t you heard of ventilation?
    6. Too many customers. Hire more staff and install a few more registers. Make the manager actually get off his fat ass and do something when a line forms.
    7. Ban those bluetooth devices in the store, in fact ban all cellphones.
    8. The music is annoying and dissident. Change it.
    9. Stop accepting credit cards (This makes sense if you think about it for a minute, refer to #2, part 2 if you need clarification).
    10. The environment is identical to every other starbucks, make them more unique (This requires much investment, I know)
    11. Would it hurt to make the place bigger? And what’s up with those pillars installed in the middle of some of them?
    12. Report your stocks every MONTH, not every quarter. That pissed off your investors. Oh wait, Last I heard SB wasn’t even on wall street anymore. Nevermind!
    13. The pastries are too expensive. And they’re not even freshly made, you aren’t fooling anyone. You did a good thing by stopping the sandwich thing just to attempt proving a lesson to McDonalds.

  35. Buran says:

    @yesteryear: I like the design…

  36. Buran says:

    @riverstyxxx: I don’t carry cash often and if a business won’t take my credit card, I won’t go there. If McDonald’s can do it (and have free wifi, too), a place like Starbucks that tries to cater to the middle and upper middle classes needs to be on top of the same game.

  37. tape says:

    I’m stunned that the highest-voted of the “stop calling your sizes stupid names” posts on that site has 80 points (equivalent 8 votes).

    Once in a while I’ll go into a Starbux to see if any of their current seasonal beverages tickles my fancy. I always order a “large something” or a “medium whatever” as opposed to their fuckfaced proprietary size names. If they do their snarky correction bit, I walk out of the store. Getting a tasty beverage isn’t worth any amount of corporate brainwashing.

  38. sburnap42 says:

    @riverstyxxx: So you are saying that they are too expensive and too crowded? That’s a bit contradictory, don’t you think?

  39. Beerad says:

    @cockeye: Generally speaking yes, it’s illegal. At least NY and CA have statutes on the books specifically prohibiting this (and likely other states as well). Obviously it depends on the specific factual situation — sounds like your jerkwad manager was definitely breaking the law.

    Vis-a-vis Starbucks: [consumerist.com]

  40. Beerad says:

    @riverstyxxx: Sounds like you’ve spent waaaaaay too much time in a Starbucks for someone who doesn’t seem to like: the product the place sells, the price they sell it at, or anything about the experience of being there. No offense, but I think you should consider opening a “RiverstyxxxBucks” coffeehouse rather than trying to reformulate Starbucks’ entire business model for them.

  41. lemur says:

    @riverstyxxx:

    8. The music is annoying and dissident. Change it.

    Dissident?? Their music challenges the established policy or something?

    Judging by the rest of your post, I think they are going to dismiss you pretty quickly.

  42. B says:

    @Meg Marco: So, you’re like the customer in the Dunki Donuts commercial, then?
    “I’d like a large coffee”
    “You mean a Deochi”
    “A large coffee”
    “A Deochi.”
    “what’s a Deochi?”
    “It’s a large”

  43. riverstyxxx says:

    @sburnap42:
    Absolutely not, price means nothing to the Starbucks hounds. Read the part where I mention: “Make The Place Bigger” to handle those crowds.

    @Buran: Carry some cash, mmk? No one should have to wait in line while the person in front of them is paying for mints and a bottle of water with a credit card charging 18% interest.

  44. canuckfan says:

    I’ve been going to the same Starbucks for 4 years – none of the baristas know or use my first name.
    They never ask how my day is going – never had a free coffee.
    I wished there was competition to this outlet in our neck of the woods.
    North Langley, B.C.
    Canada
    (The manager is too busy chasing the moose out of the parking lot – just kidding).

  45. canuckfan says:

    I always help myself to the free samples they put on the counter – hell I am paying premium for my cup of coffee anyway.

  46. thirdbase says:

    I have one great suggestion. STOP BURNING THE COFFEE.
    Whaddya mean it’s suppsed to taste that way yeeeccch

  47. Jon Mason says:

    @riverstyxxx: Its the 21st century – most fast food outlets I go to the credit card swiper on the counter is as fast or not faster than paying for cash. And what has the interest rate got to do with it – some of us use credit cards for convenience/fraud protection, not to pay interest…

  48. rjhiggins says:

    @oakie: I think you’re going to the wrong Starbucks (or living in the wrong area). The stores around here have some very comfy chairs.

    But let’s face it, Starbucks isn’t about couches and free wi-fi and making it comfortable for you to hang around for hours hogging all the seats. I don’t have a problem with that: There are other options for that.

  49. tvaughn05 says:

    @riverstyxxx: Ever heard of Debit Cards? All the convienence, no interest.

  50. rjhiggins says:

    @riverstyxxx: Yeah, I hate those coffee shops that smell like coffee.

    And you might be the only Starbucks customer (under the age of 70, at least), who would prefer to wait behind someone paying with cash and having to wait for change for their $20 bill.

    “…even though I never go there…” Yeah, right. I can tell by the detail in your comments (“The environment is identical to every other starbucks…”

  51. Please clarify how Starbucks provides “Free” Wi-Fi.

  52. ChuckECheese says:

    @REPTILE-DYSFUNCTION: Wasn’t there something in the papers a couple weeks ago that Starbucks dumped TMobile and is going with AT&T? And if you have their card in your wallet, you get 2 hrs free WiFis a day? And if you don’t, it’s like $2 or $3?

    Hmmm, the story is a little vague, but here you go: [computerworld.com]

  53. ChuckECheese says:

    @rjhiggins: I wish my coffee shop smelled like Axe body spray… I hate natural odors. Or maybe bacon–yes–bacon. That would be so great to walk out of a place smelling like bacon. What’s the matter with the smell of coffee?

  54. sean77 says:

    They need to get rid of the “vente” naming convention. It sounds stupid. Vente means “twenty” in italian. How stupid do you sound ordering a “twenty coffee”.

  55. ManPurse says:

    I just don’t get why people care so much about what Starbucks calls their drink sizes. I can accept that it’s annoying but why allow so much of your brainspace to care about it and let it get your blood boiling to the point where you make an effort to say “large” and walk out all in a huff when the barista confirms your order with the other word? Can someone deconstruct for me why it matters so much?

    @riverstyxxx: Um I’ve never noticed someone’s use of a credit or debit card holding up a line. I think it would be ridiculous for a business to not accept plastic at this point.

  56. Buran says:

    @riverstyxxx: Um, no. I’m not going to carry cash so that someone can rip me off, and thank you for making baseless and insulting assumptions. I swipe my card and I’m done and gone, and I pay 0% interest because that bill gets paid in full as soon as it gets to me.

    Again, the answer is NO, mmmkay?

  57. Buran says:

    @tvaughn05: … and nowhere near as much liability protection under law, and if someone gets hold of the number you’re out the money til the bank gets around to refunding you. I don’t even have a debit card, just an ATM card.

  58. Buran says:

    @Papa Midnight: They don’t; that’s what all the complaints are about considering most of their competition is doing it. They are already losing business because they refuse to fix this problem. They claim they will in the future, but they’re losing business RIGHT NOW, so they need to work faster.

  59. evilhapposai says:

    A black cup of coffee that actually tastes good with free refills…maybe some cream and sugar but thats it. I can find better things to do with my money than to get a overpriced Starbucks “coffee” that has a buttload of crap thrown in it and tastes like it was brewed in the previous owners colon, with a side a side of lemon for that familiar nasty bitter taste. Where I used to work there we had Starbucks brought in for free occationally and I had a few to start but coffee is NOT supposed to upset ones stomach like that.

    I now proudly pay my $1 dollar for good tasting coffee in McDonalds every morning before work sit down and enjoy the newpaper that someone has always left there and get 2-3 refills.

  60. Neurotic1 says:

    Starbucks IS going to offer semi-free wifi. When ATT takes over in a few months, all you need to do is have a balance on one of their gift cards and you’ll get 2 free hours.

    In addition, if you’re paying for higher speed rates on ATT DSL, you’ll get it for free. It’s already free at Borders, Coffee Bean, etc.

  61. cerbie says:

    Better coffee. Better coffee. Better coffee. Roast it so it doesn’t taste burnt.

  62. betatron says:

    FREE WIFI.

    (Borders Books: you too)

    .max

  63. Fusioned says:

    Starbucks rules, its getting free/dirt cheap wifi via an AT&T deal made recently

    there’s one everywhere in nyc, its chillin, the coffee is good and i drink it black. if yo u complain, then you’re a snob.

    plus there are always tons of hot bitches in there. i could go on and on about how they donate money to charities and give part-time workers health insurance but that would destroy the little indie cred i have left.

    DAMN.

  64. Quaoar says:

    OK. I and my wife must spend the better part of our only son’s inheritance on coffee at Starbucks. If my son knew of this, I would not be writing this post since all of my money would already have been paid to a lawyer to defend his claim to our life’s work.

    The last thing I want to do is settle down anywhere in Starbucks to savor my drink. No, the last thing on my mind is sitting in a bevy of 30-40 something women looking for conversation or a “relationship” or anywhere in the neighborhood of the 40-60 year old male child molesters looking for you-know-what whilst they drink their quad grande mocha-chockas.

    My favorite Starbucks are the drive-throughs where I only have to listen to the entire life histories of the staff on the remote speaker in order to spend another $2.17 on a vente coffee.

    I don’t want wifi, a plug for my notebook (there are no “laptops” manufactured in the last 15 years, thank you very much). I do want better coffee, not the downgraded, stale beans that Starbucks has been using since they were scammed in the Kona bean fiasco of ten years ago. BTW, if anyone at Starbucks is listening and might think they will be employed several hours after reading my post, why can’t I get a single, solitary, egg-salad sandwitch after say 8:30 am?

    Q

  65. GearheadGeek says:

    @B: They are saying “dieci” in the Dunkin Donuts commercial… Dieci is Italian for 10, half of Venti (20).

    And I know that perche parlo l’italiano, not because I give a damn about Starbucks.

  66. Darkest Daze says:

    I’d go to Starbucks if I couldn’t get a cup of hot chocolate that’s just as good from a convenience store for about 1/10th of the price.

  67. Nenne says:

    I understand if you are not a frequent Starbucks customer and you walk in and order a large coffee they should just give you what they know you mean and not act like the word large aren’t in their vocabulary. However, as someone who frequents starbucks I don’t see how it’s such a burden for you to say the real drink names when you do actually know them. And to go in with the intention of walking out if they don’t accept your term is kind of ridiculous and I wonder if you have anything going on in your life. That’s like to people who visit restaurant looking for bad service.

  68. psyop63b says:

    I totally agree with the free wi-fi thing. They advertise that they have it, but the first time I cracked open my laptop I realized I needed some T-mobile subscription. What a letdown that was.

  69. Buran says:

    @Nenne: I don’t like it because it’s pretentious. Call it whatever you want, but don’t rub the pretentiousness in my face. There’s still a small, a medium, and a large. That is apparently too difficult to comprehend for some of the people who work there, or they buy too much into the corporate culture.

    Fortunately, I’ve never run into that. But then I’m not a super-frequent customer and just go from time to time for a frappucino.

  70. drjayphd says:

    @psyop63b: Yeah, it’s the kind of thing you would’ve thought Starbucks would’ve been offering already. Ah well, someone’s got to beat them somewhere.

  71. Echodork says:

    How about not charging $4 for a cup of coffee?

  72. SkokieGuy says:

    People – I think the idea is that you go to [mystarbucksidea.force.com] to post your thoughts, not here.

  73. Osagasu says:

    I’ve never had any issues with my Starbucks not knowing what small, medium, and large sizes were. I order it in english sizes… they give it to me no problem, even if they repear it back to me in their short-bus way.

    That said, when I go to OTHER Starbucks, I have the issue with them not knowing what it means. So I just go ahead and order it the way they call the sizes and go on about my business.