A Steaming Starbucks SWOT Analysis

A Starbucks SWOT Analysis

Starbucks was founded in 1971 in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Original name of company was Starbucks Coffee,

Tea and Spices, later changed to Starbucks Coffee Company. They now have more than 30 blends and single-origin coffees.

Interestingly, Starbucks is named after the first mate in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Starbucks mission statement is to be the premier purveyor of the finest coffee in the world while maintaining their uncompromising principles as they grow.

The public are willing to pay premium prices for coffee served in convenient settings with good customer service.

Here is a brief SWOT analysis of Starbucks


They were one of the first coffee house to offer quality coffee at convenient sites for discerning consumers.

They are are known as the leaders in their field. They hold prime locations.


They are very dependent on one product - coffee. Should something effect the pricing and supply of coffet they would be at risk.

They need to operate on a cost effective basis - ensuring that each unit or location is and remains profitable.

They have recently closed several hundred outlets.


Success brings concerns about being ethical - treating their staff well, not using their strength to take advantage of existing local competitors in terms of locations. Also they could lay themselves open to the environmental green lobby. e.g. Waste disposal of cups. They are being challenged from all quarters.

The recession is a major threat as people are less willing to spend on premuim products that are nice to have.

Competition is stiffening. McDonalds now offer coffee. Gas Stations, convenience stores...everyone is jumping on the band wagon.


Co-branding with other famous brands e.g. Bookstores and supplying whole beans in supermarkets are strong opportunities. Entry into Asia and Far East countries as they become more affluent.

Possible Derived Strategic Objectives

From this Starbucks SWOT Analysis...what should their strategic objectives be...

  • Keep an operationally tight ship ...ensure that each outlet is profitable
  • Keep ethical - be seen to be doing good to all.
  • Diversify into other channels such as supermarkets
  • Continue to market to new international markets.
  • Try to find secondary and complimentary products to lessen their dependence on coffee.

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