Mon 4 Sep 2023
Meet the Leader: Starbucks
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With Vedran Modric - Regional Director of Starbucks Poland
What customer shifts have you noticed in the last 2 years? Any changes in customer behaviour that you feel are here to stay?
The reasons our guests visit our cafés have changed – people are seeking places and opportunities to recharge with positive energy. For them, a visit to our café is a chance to catch a deep breath and take a break from their daily worries. We want to be, and I believe we are, a place that uplifts people’s spirits and provides a moment of respite.
We aim to create an atmosphere where all guests in our cafés feel noticed and, above all, warmly welcomed. We approach each person individually. It's important to us that everyone can always receive a drink tailored to their needs – that's why we offer extensive customization options. Each visit to a Starbucks café entails a unique experience that allows one to unwind from the daily hustle in a pleasant atmosphere, amidst the aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
Which key trends are impacting your business in 2023?
Remote working. The pandemic has significantly altered our reality, forcing a change in habits and behaviours. More and more people are working from home, so don’t tend to visit a café during the day, on the way, or between work and home. However, the increasing popularity of delivery shows that despite fewer opportunities for in-person visits, the need for a café experience remains.
Another key trend is the increasing consumer interest in vegetarian or vegan options. For several years now, we have been observing a steady growth in the consumption of plant-based milk alternatives. Therefore, this year, we introduced the option to exchange regular milk for any plant-based alternative at no additional cost. We currently offer a wide selection of non-dairy milk alternatives, such as soy, oat, coconut, and almond milk.
Which hero product have you launched recently? Tell us more!
Many of our products have already gained cult status, but among the recently introduced ones, the Iced Oat Shaken Espresso range is quickly gaining popularity. Despite Poles being enthusiastic about traditional hot coffee, they are increasingly tempted by the frozen version of their favorite drink. Just a few years ago, cold beverages were ordered only in the summer, but now interest remains high even in the early spring or autumn.
What are you currently looking for in terms of new products and innovation?
Our brand has been seeking opportunities for reusing coffee grounds for quite some time. For several years, we have been offering them to our guests for free, encouraging them to use the grounds as an eco-friendly cleaning agent for their homes or as plant fertilizer, as part of the "Take Your Coffee Grounds Home" initiative.
It was only through our collaboration with the start-up Ecobean that we truly realized the potential of these waste grounds. For over two years now, we have been working together to develop innovative technologies for processing coffee grounds. Over a billion people around the world drink coffee every day, but few of them know that used coffee grounds are not just ordinary waste, but a valuable resource that can be reused.
Therefore, we are supporting the Circular Coffee project, which we hope will take the entire industry one step closer to more sustainable production and a closed-loop economy. The Circular Coffee project offers the opportunity to process coffee grounds on a mass scale, and we can leverage our global reach for good causes.
How important is sustainability for your business?
Since the very beginning, Starbucks has been more than just coffee. We primarily operate locally because we want to be close to our guests and the issues that matter to them. We support their needs as well as those of local communities in which we are situated.
To achieve this, we strive to be not only close to the environment but, above all, to people. We engage in employee volunteering, through which we have established a longstanding partnership with the Joanna Radziwiłł "Opiekuńcze Skrzydła" Foundation. Our Partners and management team visit and support the Foundation's facilities. We have also obtained a grant for the foundation from The Starbucks Foundation as part of the "Global Community Impact Grants" project. In the previous year, we also undertook initiatives in various locations to support residents of Ukraine.
We also promote sustainable resource usage. As I mentioned earlier, we have been offering our Guests coffee grounds for reuse as an eco-friendly cleaning agent for their homes or as plant fertilizer through the "Take Your Coffee Grounds Home" initiative. Additionally, we collaborate with the start-up Ecobean, providing them with coffee grounds from our Warsaw cafés. Since Starbucks' establishment in Poland, which has been 14 years now, we have been offering the "Bring Your Own Tumbler" initiative to reduce waste production, educate, and support our Guests' eco-friendly efforts. Therefore, every person who orders any drink in their own cup receives a discount of 1 PLN.
We also take actions to reduce food waste, thanks to the "Too Good To Go" app offer. In 2022, we managed to save over 430,000 products from being wasted together. That's 60,000 more than the previous year! We continually seek plant-based alternatives, and this year, we removed fees for choosing a plant-based milk alternative over cow's milk. We also continuously expand our range of vegan cakes and sandwiches. Our Guests can even enjoy a plant-based version of whipped cream, as I mentioned, which has become incredibly popular. And this is just the beginning of Starbucks' journey towards a plant-based menu.
Meet Starbucks at ECS 2023.