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Starbucksと政治の謎

 


今週のTIMEはStarbucksのHoward Schultzがカバーストーリーです。12月に高級志向とも言えるReserve Roastery and Tasting Roomがシアトルで開店したタイミングではBloombergにも登場していました。



なぜ2ヶ月遅れなのかはわかりませんが、このカバーストーリーのおかげでなぜHoward Schultzが政治に関心を持つのかの一因がわかった気がします。

Starbucks For America
Rana Foroohar @RanaForoohar Feb. 5, 2015

Howard Schultz is transforming his company. Changing the country is going to be harder

Words checked = [3560]
Words in Oxford 3000™ = [84%]

これまでSchultzが政治に関わっているのは経済的に成功して名誉や公的な分野に色気が出たんだろうぐらいにしか思っていませんでした。Yutaの勝手な解釈ではありますが、政治不安はStarbucksの売り上げを直撃することが、政治をなんとかしたいと思う一因ではないかとこの記事を読んで思いました。Sales will rise and fall with the national mood, tanking quickly during events like the New York City police protests–or the 2013 government shutdownとあります。やっぱり政治が安定していないと落ち着いてカフェでくつろぐ気持ちにはなれませんよね。

Schultz is acutely aware of this because four times a day, he gets what may be the most up-to-date consumer-confidence indicator in America–Starbucks’ coffee-sales figures. With nearly 12,000 stores nationwide, “we have a lens on almost every community in America,” he says. “At 4:30 in the morning, I wake up and see the numbers of basically every store from yesterday.” Those numbers give a picture that is very different from and much more sensitive than quarterly GDP figures. Over the past few years, says Schultz, they’ve pointed to a “fractured level of trust and confidence” that he attributes in large part to a sense that government is no longer functional and that no one is looking out for the welfare of the middle and working classes.

Sales will rise and fall with the national mood, tanking quickly during events like the New York City police protests–or the 2013 government shutdown, just one of the recent moments when Schultz has worried about the effects of partisan politics on the economy. “I called the White House after the government shutdown and shared with them [figures showing] that leading into the shutdown and for weeks afterward, we saw a significant drop in consumer spending.” He spoke to people “at the very highest level on both sides of the aisle” to stress his feeling that this effect would be “lingering” and would result in a more skittish consumer. “And that’s exactly what’s happened,” he says.


日本でもセブンイレブンの100円コーヒーとコーヒー界のアップルと言われるブルーボトルが話題になっていますが、そのような二極化はアメリカでも起こっているようです。皮肉にもアメリカの二極化を批判しているSchultzが二極化そのものを受け入れて対応しなくてはいけない状況になっている年適しています。今回のシアトルの店舗は高級志向の一環ですものね。

In part, that will involve taking seriously the crowded space for cheaper coffee, a phenomenon that along with the financial crisis helped lead to a steep downturn in Starbucks’ fortunes in 2008. Starbucks will have to compete more directly not only with McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts but also with budget outfits like 7-Eleven. (When even Taco Bell is advertising its coffee, you know things are getting tough.) You will start to see the mermaid logo near places like your local bowling alley. The firm that built its image on an “emotional” connection to coffee that allowed for personal indulgences like $5 mocha Frappuccinos is going to have to find ways to compete with those that sling bare-bones $1 coffee–and a lot of it. (Starbucks hasn’t decided yet how the menu might change.) The company is approaching this in a characteristically cool way–building outlets from used cargo containers at highway exits, for example–but it’s not going to be easy to make one brand mean two things to different customers.

More important, this change of course puts the company in an awkward position. To continue to grow, it must adapt to the economic landscape, making a play for high-end consumers with disposable income while also tailoring outlets and products to lower-end consumers who have less to spend. But doing this means Schultz is implicitly accepting a truth that he has been rallying against for years. That leaves Starbucks aggressively changing its business model to make the most of a country in which the middle class is shrinking while its outspoken CEO loudly cries out against the forces that shrink it. The future of Starbucks, like the economy itself, has a split personality.


Schultzの人となりの負の部分をhe’s no saintとして、control freakである点やtendency to parachute into situationsであることをあげています。まあたったの一代でこれだけの会社を作り上げたのですから普通の人じゃないことはわかりますが、the future of Starbucks after him is unclear at best.と彼の後継者のことが心配になってしまいます。

Schultz may be of the people, but he’s no saint. He’s more sensitive than most executives to criticism and tough questions. So much so that he has a tell: when he’s on the defensive, his eyes open wider than normal. And like many business leaders from hardscrabble backgrounds, he can be a control freak. Top staffers say multiple 5 a.m. emails from him aren’t unusual. Is that tough? I ask one lieutenant. “Only if you are a normal person who gets started at 8 a.m.,” he responds, a little weary. Schultz also has a tendency to parachute into situations, pre-empting members of his staff who are trying to do their jobs. He says he needs to combat his tendency to “override the people who are responsible. [It’s] not healthy for the organization.” One rare rich-guy move, Schultz’s purchase of the Seattle SuperSonics in 2001, ended with a very unpopular sale that relocated the team to Oklahoma City; Schultz was frustrated by the experience in part because he didn’t get as much control as he would have liked.

2016年の第三の候補になるのかという思わせぶりな表紙にしていましたが、記事本文で彼自身は完全に否定しています。For now, Schultz says, he’s content to “see what Hillary does.”とヒラリーさんを推しているようです。

For his part, Schultz insists he’s not interested in running for office at the moment and has neither the temperament to make the compromises necessary to embark on a Democratic political career nor the desire to be a third-party candidate. “I don’t think that is a solution. I don’t think it ends well.” There is also the baggage that every successful businessman turned politico has to carry in terms of translating his successes–and his failures–in one realm to another. In 2012, for example, Starbucks ran into PR trouble in the U.K. after revelations that it had paid only minimal corporation taxes on many hundreds of millions of dollars in sales. The company, which had been domiciling in the Netherlands, as many large companies do, says it complied with all tax laws. Starbucks has since voluntarily paid more, and it has moved its European headquarters to the U.K. Still, the episode shows how difficult it would be to balance running a multinational company with running a progressive political campaign. For now, Schultz says, he’s content to “see what Hillary does.”
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Yuta

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