I've bought enough coffee at Starbucks to know that they run just about every aspect of their operation at peak efficiency and with just about every customer satisfaction gauge needle in the green. It's an impressive outfit, and at least at the franchise level, they get precious few of the important answers wrong. However, one irksome interaction that intensifies from non-event to conscious, maddening annoyance is forced by the design of the cream-and-sugar console. They've got it consistently mis-organized, at least at every Starbucks here in Chicago (and I've been to dozens of them, for shame
) -- especially the ones in the Loop that offer self-service coffee. Not one to talk out of school, at least not without pictures, I put my P800 to use a few mornings ago to illustrate the problem (and my suggested solution).
At the Lasalle/Lake location, patrons get their self-serve brew here:
They then shuffle somnambulently to the right to get their sugar/Equal/vanilla powder fix, plus half-and-half or milk.
HOWEVER, it's inevitably when they decide to cap their coffee that they realize the plastic Solo lids are back over where the insulated canisters are placed.
This leads to customers who'd thought they'd achieved sublime greatness instead having to tuck tail and go the back of the line just to get a damn lid, or cut someone off who's on his way from coffee to creamer. I've been on both the giving and receiving ends. it's a dog-eat-dog existence, I tell you.Memo to Starbucks Chicago HQ:
Stack the lids with the finisher ingredients. It's a time-and-motion study you won't have to pay for; customer satisfaction improvements guaranteed!
The other problem with the console: it's designed with room for two people, but its accessory arrangement means crossing arms and fumbling through someone else's personal space first thing in the morning. A special hell for pre-caffeine American white collar types, I can assure you. Why is this so? Simply because sugars are in the center and an uncertain distribution of whole, skim, and half-and-half caps either end. Whole milk not on your side? Of course not. It's cause the other bozo is using it. Gotta wait. Then when he's done, you bump knuckles reaching for the milk on his side while he dives into Sugar in the Raw. Agony! Not to be outfoxed, the elevator repair guy waiting behind both of you nincompoops tries to "lemme just sneak the skim from ya there" behind your left shoulder. No dice, as you expertly set a moving pick on that rookie gambit.
...Too much gamesmanship. Instead, if you want to allow both meticulous and casual users maximum exposure to coffee fixings, consider the two place station redesign below:
milk/cream centered in the middle, two of each (as it is now). Up to three people could get at it, conceivably. Plus, sugar/powder trays are specific to each station. No more rapped knuckles!
1) Arrange lids with creamer station, not dispensers. People put a lid on finished coffee. Heck, leave some lids with the dispensers so the "I take it black" crowd can totally save face.
2) Redesign the station to accomodate two patrons from a single central pedestal. No more whole milk horror stories.
Labels: Hard-Hitting Ethnography