They say that starting a business is a marathon, not a spring — and the long, storied history of how Starbucks became the world's most formidable coffee chain is one long marathon. Much like McDonald's and the chains that came before it, Starbucks isn't without its missteps and failures from time to time. So just what hase worked for Starbucks, and what hasn't?
Starbucks, which opened in 1971, grew steadily over the years; Starbucks didn't even break into 17 stores until 16 years after opening. And it wasn't even until 1995 that Starbucks began selling a little well-known drink, the Frappuccino. From 1994 to 1996, Starbucks more than doubled its number of stores, from 272 to 677. And with it, came lots of experimentation and new drinks.
And of course, not all of them were winners — and when we started digging into some of those missteps, we were surprised to see what did click, and what didn't. In fact, some of the ideas, like the Circadia "hidden" restaurants, seem almost too ahead of its time; nowadays, the idea of a discreet, "hipster" coffee shop would probably not be as foreign as it was some 15-plus years ago. (After all, they were serving booze there). And then there were the bottled drinks that Starbucks first forayed into in 1995. But somehow, Pepsi + coffee didn't quite take off.
Some of these mistakes we'd like to see come back, and others we'd like to see stay far, far away. But for all of its stumblings, Starbucks has nailed quite a few things — and we mean more than the Frappuccino. Click ahead to see Starbucks' biggest flops, as well as, in our minds, Starbucks' biggest successes.