Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2001 (Revised September 2005)

Howard Schultz and Starbucks Coffee Company

by Nancy F. Koehn


Investigates the entrepreneur's strategic initiatives to develop a mass market for specialty coffee in the 1980s and 1990s. These initiatives included the development of premium products, rapid expansion of company-owned stores--each with attractive retail environments and responsive customer service--and, especially, the creation of a strong brand. Also devotes considerable attention to how Schultz built the Starbucks organization, examining the consistent emphasis that he and his colleagues placed on the company's relationship with its employees, how Schultz financed Starbucks' early expansion, how vertical integration ensured quality control, and how--strategically and operationally--the company managed its phenomenal domestic and international growth after 1993.

Keywords: Entrepreneurship; Groups and Teams; Brands and Branding; Growth Management; Employee Relationship Management; Consumer Behavior; Organizational Design; Leadership Style; Customer Relationship Management; Competitive Advantage; Vertical Integration; Food and Beverage Industry;


Koehn, Nancy F. "Howard Schultz and Starbucks Coffee Company." Harvard Business School Case 801-361, February 2001. (Revised September 2005.)