Over the past few years, Starbucks has been embroiled in a succession of business transitions. At first, they started to try serving lunch, and then they explored the idea of a cooked breakfast menu which was followed soon after with Pike’s Place. Unfortunately, the results have been less than satisfactory and now Starbucks is grasping at even more outlandish ideas when perhaps they should be more focused on their core business.

While there are plenty of ideas out there, as a regular Starbucks customer myself here are a few things they could do that would help keep me as a happy customer:

  1. Free WiFi. Sure, I’ve got an account with my Starbucks card and can connect – but by the time I type all my login information there just isn’t enough time to use it. Give me a free wireless access point and let me get online. I don’t mind having a limit (30 minutes) but I do mind having to navigate the laundry list of wireless access “providers”.Coffee To-Go
  2. Coffee for Keurig. I’ve tried VIA and it’s not my cup of joe, I’m assuming if you can make reasonably good Starbucks flavored coffee from an instant pack you might be able to do a decent job on a really good coffee machine.
  3. Drop the Pike Place campaign. This might have already happened, but if not then it’s way overdue. Let the local Starbucks shops figure out what they want to serve in the afternoon rather than require them to brew a specific blend. This is part of the local appeal and might actually get me to make a visit again after lunch.
  4. Forget about Target. It’s impossible to plan a 7AM coffee run to a local Starbucks, there are too many of them co-located in Target and Barnes & Noble.
  5. Forget about locally branded shops. The idea of a stealth coffee shop is ridiculous, this is akin to Pontiac competing with Chevrolet and we all know how that ended up.
  6. Improve the pastry selection. Having an egg and cheese sandwich is an interesting idea, but maybe fixing the quality of the existing pastry selection would be better one. Honestly, I’ll grab my scone from Fresh Market or Panera before even considering the purchase of one at Starbucks. Get together with a local bakery and start providing quality breakfast items.

The pastry issue is probably the biggest problem, if I’m hungry at all then a stop at Panera or Dunkin Donuts is going to give me a better selection. This also means that I am more inclined to buy a cup of coffee at one of these establishments, which will take away from what could have been business for Starbucks.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to stop my local treks to Starbucks just because I’m not getting my free WiFi and the scones taste questionable. The coffee there is still quite good and extremely consistent, it’s perfectly alright to branch out into new directions but in the end you need to remain true to your core business and of course keep your customers happy.