I've learned from this blog is that many people aren't quite sure how to talk to Starbucks. I receive about ten to fifteen emails every month (sometimes many more) from people who click the "contact me" form on this site. I welcome you to contact me, but would like to address common themes in these emails. Many people write short emails and addressing me like as if I worked for Starbucks. Once in a blue moon, I'll get emails addressed to "Howard." I receive a few emails now and then where people simply tell me that they enjoy reading the blog. I have to admit that's great to hear and it's encouraging to me to keep this blog going. Once in a blue moon, I'll get tips about things that could be coming to Starbucks, or new drinks or food. I love getting tips on what's going to be up and coming and new.
The reality is that for the average person who has no pre-established contacts within the Starbucks headquarters, knowing where to ask a question directly to Starbucks can be confusing. I notice that I get the same kinds of emails over and over again: How can I get a job at Starbucks? Where can I find a certain item? etc... So based on my experience with these emails I receive, here's my "How To" guide for those wanting to contact Starbucks:
1. I would like to work for Starbucks:
If you want to work at Starbucks, visit http://www.starbucks.com/career-center
I definitely recommend using twitter too. You can connect with the official StarbucksJobs profile on twitter, or there are a few non-official twitter profiles that tweet about Starbucks career opportunities. The profiles "MonicaRecruiter," Amy Hamdorff, and Kirsti Stubbs, all tweet unofficially of some Starbucks job opportunities in Canada.
Twitter is such a great tool to connect with people. Use that "@" reply and get in a conversation! This, by the way, really is one of the most common requests that I receive in emails.
2. I broke my favorite mug, coffee canister, or other collectible. How can I find a replacement? Or how can I find a specific collectible mug or card or other item?
I am sorry, there is no sure-fire easy way to get a replacement of an old mug, cup, tumbler or any other Starbucks product Try eBay. I don't have any special sources for collectibles.
3. The baristas at my Starbucks are surly and/or my beverage is not quite right.
Anything that is specific to one store is really best handled by Customer Service. Here is how you reach them:
Retail Customer Relations (800) 235-2883 Mon – Fri 5 AM – 6 PM (PST)
You can also use this email form to reach them:
4. Can you arrange for me to meet Howard Schultz, Annie Young Schrivner, or some other public figure Starbucks person, or some VP within the Starbucks headquarters?
I don't know what else to say other than "no." I do have some contacts and resources within the Starbucks corporate headquarters, but I won't tax the limit of those connections to arrange meetings for people who send me random emails. And I apologize for how harsh this sounds. If I constantly were trying to get people who email in touch with people at the SSC, I'd have no contacts left.
5. I wish Starbucks had more sugar free syrups, or other idea for the retail stores:
This is exactly the kind of thing that MyStarbucksIdea.com was designed for. If you have a novel idea for Starbucks and your idea is NOT something you want to earn any money from, then MyStarbucksIdea.com is the place to visit. (Please use the search button on that site before creating a new thread!)
6. I am a student writing an essay about Starbucks and/or I am a marketing student studying the relationship between brands and their fans, would you help with xyz thing ...
I am surprised how often I get these requests. More often than not, I ignore them. I am really sorry but I don't have time to help you with your homework. Please remember this entire blog is just a little hobby. I usually decline to assist you in surveys, essays, or answer questionnaires. Please don't take offense.
7. I have a brilliant product or recipe or promotional idea or promotional image that I would like to sell, contract, lease, or in some way be reimbursed for by Starbucks:
First off, before you think that you have the next brilliant partnership for Starbucks, please realize the scale of Starbucks. As a billion dollar corporation, there are many more people pitching ideas at them than they could ever say "yes" to. I know this sounds harsh, but the reality is that if you are trying to enter into any kind of professional partnership with Starbucks, or any type of business relationship with Starbucks, you're likely going to hear "no." Probably 99% of everyone does hear "no." It's just a matter of the numbers. Starbucks is really big and probably gets thousands and thousand and thousands of professional proposals every single year.
If you already have some inside contact at the Starbucks headquarters, use those first. For example, if you're trying to pitch the next big "green" idea and you already know someone who works in Corporate Social Responsibility team at the Starbucks headquarters, contact that person.
Most people don't have any inside contacts. If you have a product that you want Starbucks to sell, I still recommend the old-fashioned way of getting in touch with them: Write a letter. Send a highly professional (your grammar and English should be flawless and far better than my sloppy quick writing style on this blog!) cover letter to the headquarters with a product sample and/or a very nice brochure. Here's the headquarters address:
Starbucks Support Center 2401 Utah Avenue - 8th Floor Reception Seattle, WA 98134
You could call Customer Service and attempt to talk to someone about your business idea, but I think the odds of this getting you anywhere are slim to none. I am under the impression that many Customer Service representatives will suggest to people that they should submit their idea to MyStarbucksIdea.com. Personally, I don't think this is a great idea. Imagine that you have a great recipe you want to sell to Starbucks. Let's say you have a great recipe for muffin tops. I doubt that any executives working in R & D have the time to comb through MyStarbucksIdea.com looking for future business ideas. Maybe I'm being overly pessimistic about this, but rather than hoping you will be 'found' as a needle in a haystack of ideas, I think it's better that you go directly to them. At least if you put your recipe in an envelope, and address it to "food research and development." there is some off chance that it will end up on the right person's desk.
Also, keep in mind that when you call up Customer Service, you're speaking with a contracted service in New Mexico. It is possible that your call could be "escalated" to the right person at the headquarters, but I think the odds of this happening are very very very small.
I should make it really clear that I don't have the answers here. I personally have never made any attempt to enter into a business or professional relationship with Starbucks. And if I did have a business proposal, I would probably use the contacts that I have within the SSC.
And this answer above includes people who want to enter into an agreement to get their own music played inside a Starbucks. You could try MyStarbucksIdea.com, though I've already discussed the flaws of that option.
I'm sorry that there is no better answer to this dilemma.
8. I am journalist for xyz newspaper or magazine or news source, and I would like to speak to you about something Starbucks is doing in the news:
Once in a blue moon I have received media requests through this blog. I don't really mind being a Starbucks commentator! It's possible that if you're media, and want to speak to me and cite me in whatever you're writing that I'll just talk to you. Use the "contact me" form on this site.
9. Why isn't there a Starbucks in xyz location?
If you really want to request a new store location, then carefully read this blog post on how to do so:
Where to make a Starbucks store location request - Official post from the MyStarbucksIdea.com blogs.
10. I have questions about my Starbucks card and the rewards program:
If you want to ask questions about the MyStarbucksRewards program or your card, you have a number of options.
From the Starbucks website, there is this contact information:
Starbucks Card Customer Service (800) 782-7282 Mon – Fri 5 AM – 8 PM (PST)
If you use twitter, you can follow the official StarbucksCard twitter profile, and then tweet at Starbucks your question.
There is information here about the rewards program at this link here:
I have an older blog article from about one year ago on pitfalls of MyStarbucksRewards - Top Four Pitfalls of MyStarbucksRewards. That article is a little dated now, but I think it still contains some good information.
And just so you know, you can now get a free tall any beverage when buying a bag of the Reserve line of coffee, when you're at the "green" level of benefits or higher.
I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable about the rewards, so I do try to answer some of these questions. Unfortunately, please keep in mind that the United States' version of MyStarbucksRewards is not quite the same as some of the international variations.
I also receive emails asking me where a certain product is available. For example, people will be looking for a certain grocery Starbucks item, and will email me asking which grocery stores might have it.
I don't want to discourage people from writing me, as I've mentioned before, but I do want to sort of explain common email patterns, and don't be surprised if I take a few days to reply, and then suggest ebay to find a collectible mug. This blog is not how I make a living. (Though I would be happy if you would use the Amazon widget to buy books and such. A small earnings from Amazon can help offset the costs of operating the blog.) I don't work for Starbucks. I work full-time Monday through Friday. On weekends, I tend to spend several hours writing blog articles that then get scheduled for the upcoming week. And that's it. This blog is a hobby. And, it is a hobby that I thoroughly enjoy.