The Website that Saved the Starbucks Breakfast Sandwich
Little did I know that in 2008 when I created the savethebreakfastsandwich.com website that it would become such a phenomenon. Not only mentioned in Howard Schultz’s book “Onward” the website has mentions in major publications. The following is a list of just a few:
The Starbucks Egg Sandwich Double Cross – New York Times
The Starbucks woman also pointed me to a Web site called “Save The Breakfast Sandwich,” claiming that it showed there was a groundswell of customer support for them.
Schultz resisted hot food at Starbucks from day one. Yes, innovation is good, but not when it cannibalizes a brand. By introducing novel products, Starbucks moved away from Schultz’ original insight, which focused not on selling coffee but creating an ideal atmosphere for coffee drinkers. The smell of burnt cheese undermined that atmosphere. Yet those cheesy sandwiches were profitable. How could Schultz convince the board to stop selling something that made money?
In the end, he didn’t. In January 2008 Starbucks removed the sandwiches from the display window only to experience a backlash. When Savethebreakfastsandwich.com emerged the food team returned to the lab. They adjusted the ingredients (higher quality cheese and bread), moved the cheese to the top of the sandwich and reduced the baking temperature. The infamous sandwich returned in June 2008–with Schultz’ blessing.
Creating Lasting Value: How to Lead, Manage and Market Your Stakeholder Value – By Jeroen Geelhoed, Salem Samhoud, Ingrid Smolders
After four inspirational days, Howard Schultz ended the leadership conference by reminding Starbucks’ leaders of their responsibility towards employees, customers and the company:
Please remember what you have experienced here. Remember how you felt. And when you get back, please do not be a bystander. Change and refine behavior when you see it it inconsistent with the standards that we all have observed here this week. We made this investment in you because we believe in you. And all we ask is that you take all this back. Do not allow the pressures of the day to in any way erode the emotion, the feeling, and the power of 10,000 that you have each experience in the last few days.
Filled with inspiration, the company continued innovating to enrich the Starbucks experience. Succesful innovations added to Starbucks’ offering included the Tazo tea line and the return of the infamous breakfast sandwiches. As expected, sales had declines at stores that sold the sandwiches after they had been pulled from the shelves. What the company did not expect though were the impassioned comments posted by customers on MyStarbucksIdea.com and submitted to Starbucks’ customer service. A website called Savethebreakfastsandwich.com was even created.