Have you ever wondered what is inside the Starbucks headquarters? Let's take a look: Here's the entrance of the building, in Seattle's "SODO" neighborhood, at 2401 Utah Avenue South, Seattle, Washington 98134. Starbucks calls their headquarters the "SSC" or the Starbucks Support Center.
I took the above picture on my visit to the Starbucks headquarters on Friday, August 12, 2016. I was there trying the new almond milk that was just recently announced in the news (coming to Starbucks stores in September). One thing I can say is that it is nearly unsweetened. Natural milk has a lot more natural sweetness to it. I think a lot of people are going to like it.
As I was walking to a conference room to try almond milk, I noticed a large Komodo Dragon (a whole bean Starbucks coffee offering) sign underneath a stairwell.
I have been inside the Starbucks headquarters so many times, I have lost count. Each time I always see something new. It is packed with art, artifacts, signage, and so much more. You'll find beautiful sights high and low. It was this Komodo Dragon art work that inspired me to share my Starbucks headquarters photos with you.
You should look up high too. You might see the Starbucks Siren above you:
There is an area of the Starbucks headquarters that has framed prototype Starbucks cards. Starbucks card collector enthusiasts will enjoy this!
Not far from the Starbucks prototype cards (and other framed Starbucks cards not shown here) is a wall of signed cups:
It is striking. The wall of cups is from a Starbucks event in 2011, called "Brand Days." It was intended as a partner-only exhibit, which was set up for partners to walk through, seeing the story of their own brand. Partners (Starbucks calls their employees 'partners') saw art work, store design, beverage exhibits, exhibits related to social media and more. At the end of the exhibit was an area where you could sign a cup, affirming your dedication and promise to the Starbucks brand. I indeed had the chance to walk through and do the "Brand Days" exhibit. I am forever thankful to that one particular media relations partner who created so many great opportunities for me in that 2011 era. Eventually, the "Brand Days" exhibit closed and the wall of cups moved into the Starbucks headquarters, where you see it above. (The "Brand Days" exhibit was open for several months in 2011, overlapping with the "40th Anniversary" festivities in March of 2011.)
There is also an "Honor Wall" at the Starbucks headquarters. Each time Starbucks hires a person who is a veteran or a military spouse, that person gets their name on a silver, round little disc, honoring them. Starbucks has been in the news that they have a hiring goal of 10,000 veterans (that includes all veterans and military spouses combined). They are more than half way, having hired more than 5,500 military veterans or military spouses. Starbucks defines veteran broadly. It's anyone who served. So if you signed up and served four years, even if you were lucky enough that it was all peace-time service, you would be considered a military veteran by Starbucks. As far as I am concerned, this is how it should be. If you join the military, it will change your life. And when you sign on the dotted line to enlist, you are signing up for anything that comes your way! I know that goes without saying but I'm passionate about the Starbucks veteran's hiring initiative.
Of course, the heart of Starbucks is coffee! There are places in the Starbucks headquarters where people taste and check the quality of the coffee.
A small group of Starbucks partners work on the 8th floor of the headquarters to constantly check the quality of the coffee, whether it is single origin whole bean coffee or proprietary Starbucks blends. Those partners must drink a lot of coffee!
On the 9th floor of the Starbucks headquarters is an area dedicated to coffee education. It's a place where the Starbucks "Coffee Engagement Team" sometimes brings other partners to educate them on coffee, brewing methods, the craft of espresso beverages and more.
The coffee education area is called "Coffee Workshop Nine."
The Starbucks Mission Statement is found on several walls and rooms inside the headquarters. Here it is on a wall near the 8th floor entrance:
Last but not least, did you know that the Starbucks headquarters has their own special Starbucks inside of it? An original Siren from the old Starbucks Airport Way roasting plant hangs inside the "SODO 8" Starbucks.
The "SODO 8" Starbucks donates its profits to an organization called the Starbucks Cup Fund, which is a Starbucks non-profit set up to to grant monetary gifts to partners in crisis due to illness, natural disaster, or other tragedy.
At the Starbucks Support Center, there is a store open to the public which sells unique Starbucks-branded gifts. It's called the Starbucks Coffee Gear store. Don't forget to drop by when you're there!
I get asked frequently, 'How do I get a tour of the Starbucks headquarters?'. There is no system set up to provide customer tours of the headquarters. If you are a store-level partner, you can ask your district manager to help connect you with someone inside for a tour. If you know someone inside already, then that's great! Reach out to that person. But there is no organized system of providing tours to people. It is a working space with some 4,000 corporate employees inside, all trying to get their work done.
Hope you enjoyed your little tour of the Starbucks headquarters. There is a lot more to see! I've only scratched the surface.