Starbucks building human connections one cup at a time

Lawrence Pinto

Global coffee chain Starbucks continues to try new things to strengthen human connections. Every initiative touches back to impact the partners and customers. There is an emphasis on learning rather than success or failure. And at the centre of it all is a focus on human connection.

“As human beings, we were meant to interact with one another. It’s how we get energy. It’s how we get support when we’re dealing with adversity. It’s how we share joy and successes in our lives. I think one of the common themes going forward is finding ways to create a human connection,” said Starbucks CEO, Kevin Johnson.

Starbucks positions itself as a warm and welcoming “third place,” a space other than work and home that provides chances to share a cup and connect. From the very start, the company has aimed to “inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time,” Johnson said, quoting the company mission statement.

Kevin Johnson, CEO, Starbucks

He also highlights the importance of technology to free up more time for partners to be able to spend with customers. “So far, so good; customer connections are at an all-time high,” Johnson shared, with increases in customer occasions and tickets.

Starbucks is indeed working to build better human connections and create better communities around the world. From running a FoodShare programme in the US, delivering eligible unsold food to non-profits organisations to providing economic opportunity in underserved rural and urban communities through Community Store Program initiative. From addressing important issues such as becoming a resource-positive company, “aspiring to give more than take from the planet,” to mental health awareness.

As Starbucks is gearing up to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2021, the company is also paying close attention to honour and preserve certain things from the past – including mission, values and the importance of human connection. “And we have to dream about the future boldly,” Johnson stressed.