How Did Starbucks Become So Popular?

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Starbucks started as a Seattle-based coffee shop. But over the years, it has grown into a global coffee chain. It is undoubtedly the most prominent coffee chain in the world.

Along with great praise, it has received severe criticism from the public. In the article, we will find out the origin of Starbucks, how it got so popular, and how it is planning on retaining its market share. So without any further ado, let us get started.

Starbucks is famous because it comes up with new ideas that are not in the league of coffee.

Initially, they had just coffee but later they started dabbling into other products and services which included fresh juices, smoothies, ice creams, and now even baked food items.

They have over 17000 stores globally, which tells you something about their international standing. They constantly experiment with tastes to ensure that customers don’t get bored but instead look forward to visiting Starbucks again and again.

The Early Days of Starbucks

Starbucks opened its first store back in 1971 near the Pike Place Market. During that time, most coffee drinkers would brew their coffee weekly and scoop low-grade coffee which was inexpensive and inferior in taste.

In short, at that time, coffee wasn’t as popular as it is today. People would have never dreamt of a coffee shop, where they would get a drink and sit with their friends chatting on different topics that they find interesting.

popular coffeehouse

Starbucks was at the forefront of the movement to establish coffee as a popular drink. This coffee chain was launched by three founders- Jerry Baldwin (b. 1942), Gordon Bowker (b. 1942), and Zev Siegl (b. 1942). At the initial stage, they used to source roasted beans from a gourmet coffee company in California. But later on, they started roasting their coffee beans. 

Moreover, they started off selling only roasted coffee beans. They did not introduce coffee drinks yet. Their roasted beans soon gained popularity and were profitable for the business too.  

After their success in selling roasted coffee beans, they opened their first coffee shop that sold coffee beverages back in 1982. Starbucks Hired Howard Schultz in 1983, and it was his idea to open an Espresso Bar, and so he did in 1984.

Siegl had already sold his shares of the business back in 1980. In 1987, Baldwin, and Bowker, sold their business to a group of investors led by Schultz.  

Starbucks and Pop-culture

Starbucks currently holds more than 50% market share in the coffee chain industry. It has more than 7,000 stores in the USA and another 3,000+ stores around the globe. With the current pace of their growth, they will soon surpass the biggest global food chain Mcdonald’s.  

Thanks to its unique culture, finely selected menu for coffee drinks, and the language they use in its marketing campaigns, Starbucks now has its own identity. Their biggest success is; they have made it normal to spend $5 on a cup of joe. If you think about it, even a decade ago, this coffee culture wasn’t there. 

Starbuck Logos

Starbucks lovers are well familiar with Siren, the lovely lady on the side of every Starbucks drink. A white paper cup, with a pretty emerald mermaid on the side, has become the signature sign of Starbucks. Over the years, the logo changed multiple times, which only consolidated Starbucks ’ position in the market.  

Every time you buy a cup of coffee from Starbucks, you carry the Starbucks logo with you, which is enough to market the product to other people who have never tried it.

When you go into your office with a Starbucks in your hand, your coworkers are unknowingly motivated to get a cup for themselves later that day. When you post a picture of your Starbucks latte, you motivate all your followers to get a cup for themselves. 

One more accomplishment of Starbucks is, it has changed how we meet new people. Now, meeting a date over a cup of coffee is cool, hanging out with your friends over coffee is fun, and taking a cup on the go is in style.

Moreover, more and more people have now started to go sit in a Starbucks store and study for their exams. Also, many Starbucks stores around the globe now have conference rooms. People have free access to these rooms where they can hold business meetings. 

Starbucks App

Before we talk about the Starbucks App, let us learn about Starbucks Cards. They are electronic books of your lifelong consumption of Starbucks drinks.

For every $1 you spend on Starbucks products, you get three stars, which you can use later to claim your next Starbucks drink or any other food item from their store. Moreover, you can use the Starbucks Card to treat a friend to Starbucks drinks. 

As far as the Starbucks App is concerned, people can now pay for their Starbucks coffee using their smartphones. To place an order, let the barista scan your phone, and that is it. It is as simple as that.

The apps are a great way to pre-order a cup of joe. So by the time you reach your nearest Starbucks store, your drink is already ready. 

Along with paying for your purchase in a Starbucks store, you can also use the app to tip the barista. This feature is available in selected stores in the USA. If you hear a song that you have never heard before, you can quickly check the Starbucks App for more info on the song. This is why Starbucks is so popular. 

Starbucks And Corporate Social Responsibility

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Over the years, Starbucks has been criticized for its poor and unethical sourcing methods. Professional baristas will label Starbucks coffee as fairly mediocre. But Starbucks has always fought back. 

Despite being a for-profit company, Starbucks has generous Corporate Social Responsibility Programs. Starbucks has committed to ethical sourcing, where they ensure the people involved in the Starbucks coffee supply chain lead a sustainable life.

They aim to reach 100% ethically sourcing of cocoa and tea by 2020.  There are over 1 Million people involved with coffee production for this popular coffee chain. 

Moreover, Starbucks has partnered with Arizona State University to launch the Starbucks College Achievement Plan. This plan offers full tuition coverage for talented and eligible students. 


Starbucks is a coffee chain giant with thousands of faithful employees and millions of loyal customers. Due to its strong influence on food, music, lifestyle, and economy, it is shaping global popular culture. 

Just like Apple, Starbucks spends millions on movie advertising, where the Starbucks logo or a Starbucks white paper cup is placed in plain sight. No wonder why Starbucks is so popular.

The next time you watch the Devil Wears Prada (2006), You’ve Got Mail (1998), or Fight Club (1999), keep your eyes open for the Starbucks logo.