I was outraged the last time I went to Starbucks and ordered a cappuccino “with oat milk instead of regular milk, please.” Outraged because they charged me a small surcharge. It was a matter of principle, and it seems that at least 46,330 other people agree with me. That is the number of people, who at the time of writing, have signed a PETA letter-writing campaign to the iconic international coffee chain requesting that it drop surcharges on soy, almond and coconut milk.
Is this simply a case of corporate greed in trying to make a quick extra buck? If so, it does seem somewhat short-sighted. If Starbucks wants to be seen as being on the correct side of the fastest growing social justice movement today, then it will not wish to be seen “punishing” customers who want to make healthy and compassionate choices.
As the PETA campaign points out other chains “including Tim Hortons, Stumptown Coffee Roasters, Noah’s New York Bagels, Philz Coffee, and Costa Coffee” do not charge more.
Making no extra charge would be such an easy way for Starbucks to generate some great PR in the eyes many of its customers, particularly the Millennials.
Help customers make a compassionate choice?
This would be an easy way for Starbucks to get brownie points by hitching onto today’s fastest growing social justice movement. What is there not to like about encouraging others to make more compassionate choices? Except perhaps from a backlash from the dairy industry of course. Come on Starbucks, you know it makes sense!
I would be willing to bet that a future CEO looking back at this in 20 years will scratch his or her head in disbelief.
The company really should not forget that it has an army of vegan fans. One has even set up an Instagram page with secret menus on how to veganism your Starbucks experience.
Starbucks is not averse to being seen as a caring company. The Company has made a promise to hire 10,000 refugees by 2022. A not dissimilar sentiment has however landed the Company’s former CEO, Howard Schultz in a spot of controversy as he was weighing up a bid for a presidential campaign. A Facebook post has surfaced to the effect that he would rather hire an illegal immigrant to the USA than an army veteran. He has denied ever saying this.