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The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Consumption and Consumer Studies by J. Michael Ryan, Daniel Thomas Cook

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Starbuckization

NEWMAN CHUN WAI WONG

Midwestern State University, US

DOI: 10.1002/9781118989463.wbeccs218

The term “Starbuckization” refers to the homogenized cultural force and phenomenon of Starbucks dominating other aspects of society. Starbucks was first founded as a coffee bean roaster and retailer in Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington, in 1971. Originally, the founders of Starbucks aimed to provide quality coffee to customers, and the first shop only sold high-quality, dark-roasted coffee beans and coffee merchandise. In 1987, the current CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, became the sole owner and started to expand the coffee house chain aggressively through licensing across the United States. In 1996, the first shop outside the United States was opened in Japan, and as of 2013 Starbucks has over 19,000 stores in 62 countries.

Explaining the rapid expansion of Starbucks, sociologist George Ritzer (2013) suggests that Starbuckization shares the characteristics of McDonaldization, the rationalized management practices of McDonald's, which are efficiency, predictability, calculability, and control by nonhuman technology. To achieve efficiency, Starbucks uses different strategies to minimize the time for providing services. For example, customers are expected to queue up, order, pay, wait for their order, and then fix their coffee at the cream and sugar stand. Some Starbucks stores have drive-throughs, and sometimes there are multiple shops within an airport terminal or ...

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