Coffee + Cash

Click on a date above for more details


Click on a date above for more details

Starbucked: A Double Tall Tale of Caffeine, Commerce, and Culture
By Taylor Clark
November 5

More people would give up sex before they’d give up coffee? That’s just one of the delicious highlights from this largely positive, but unauthorized, biography of the coffee behemoth Starbucks and the culture that it has created in just 15 years. Here are six more things to impress the guy behind you while waiting for your eggnog latte.

  • Starbucks’s closest competitor in the coffeehouse market, Caribou Coffee, is just one-twenty-fifth its size. Every 10 weeks, Starbucks opens as many stores as the total number of Caribou outlets.
  • Starbucks has had 14 straight years with at least 5% same-store sales growth.
  • Contrary to popular opinion, Starbucks increases sales at rival nearby coffeehouses. For example, when it blitzed Omaha with six stores, coffee sales at local joints went up as much as 25%, and more new ones opened shop.
  • According to Starbucks, the company pays more for insurance for its employees ($200 million) than it does for coffee beans, yet only 42% of its 125,000-plus workforce has company health insurance–a lower percentage than Wal-Mart (46%).
  • The average customer spends $4.05 per visit for coffee; the average fast-food-restaurant visitor spends $4.34 for an entire meal.
  • For a cup that costs $3.40, at least 40 cents is profit. When Starbucks bumped the 8-ounce cup off the menu, the 10-ounce “tall” (the new small) increased profits by 25 cents per cup for only 2 cents of added product.

–Abe Lebovic

Also this month:

Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, From Wall Street to Dubai
By Ben Mezrich
November 1

Guile, ungodly amounts of money, espionage, spycraft–you’d think these constants of the business world would mean that more novelists would pen page-turners like Rigged. The latest book by Ben Mezrich, author of the math-geeks-go-to-Vegas best-seller Bringing Down the House, is another fictionalized account that charts the converging upward trajectories of two ambitious, self-made entities. A smart-mouthed Brooklynite named David Russo takes a job at the New York Mercantile Exchange and gets entwined with the emirate of Dubai, which has designs on global influence–and the money to buy it. Mezrich occasionally sacrifices depth and detail to maintain his rocket pacing. Most of his characters aren’t fully formed, but his testosterone-fueled, ego-inflating world of traders and sheiks is just enough. Well, enough to create a rollicking ride and set up the (inevitable) movie deal.
–Jeff Chu


How Toyota Became #1: Leadership Lessons from the World’s Greatest Car Company
By David Magee
November 1

Magee, a journalist who in his book Turnaround explored how Carlos Ghosn revived Nissan, says he set out to write a manufacturing “how to” book that compares Toyota with other carmakers. He instead produced a paean to the company and its emphasis on kaizen–“the daily and ongoing process of continuous improvement through the elimination of waste in the workplace.” Magee runs through lessons in leadership and strategy, weaving in colorful snippets from Toyota’s 70-year history. In a chapter about Sakichi Toyoda and his son Kiichiro, Magee repeats the original Toyoda Precepts, which focus as much on creativity and kindness (“strive to create a warm, homelike atmosphere”) as on business acumen.
–Kate Bonamici Flaim