May 25, 2024

TNJN Spotlight: Starbucks creates sense of belonging for customers


Starbucks Coffee Company has expanded around the world since its Pike Place beginnings in 1971 and now there are 12 Starbucks locations in Prague, Czech Republic. However, the secret to Starbucks success may not be in the coffee.

While Starbucks has a wide range of hot and cold drink flavors, costumers are paying for more than a cup of coffee.  Actually they are paying for everything but the coffee according to Bryant Simon, a Temple University professor who has studied the Starbucks phenomenon around the world for more than four years.

Simon has figured out what makes it so appealing.DSC_0399

“Starbucks, through its stores and various mechanisms, created something that was valuable to people,” said Simon.

Simon says that Starbucks is able to offer things that make people feel good about themselves in more ways than one. Carrying a Starbucks cup gives a sense of

DSC_0391belonging to a special club. It lets those around them know that they appreciate the finer things. The Starbucks menu is even like its own language, with websites designed to teach someone how to order.

This aspirational need, according to Simon, is worth the most money to us.

“The idea that we can buy something that helps us represent ourselves in a way we want other people to see us,” said Simon. “That’s what we pay the most for.”

Starbucks is also reliable. Whether it’s in Prague or Knoxville, the drink will taste the same. Customers will pay for this ability to feel a piece of home no matter where they are. And no matter where you go, there seems to be a Starbucks around every corner.


As far as coffee goes, with two times the levels of caffeine, Starbucks’ coffee could be considered addictive. While fueling this addiction, they offer nice leather couches and free Wi-Fi, which is convenient for those traveling out of the country.

“I’m addicted to Starbucks. I usually get it twice a day everyday at home,” said University of Tennessee student Malak Kader.

The Starbucks method of shaping themselves to connect our society has contributed to their growth. As a result Starbucks is now in over 50 countries with over 19,000 stores, according to their website.

It is now a global brand that can act as a small part of home no matter where you are.

Edited by Jessica Carr

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