In an era when consumers’ tastes are becoming increasingly fickle, Starbucks has been a constant. It’s the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with more than 24,000 locations in 70 countries, nearly half of those in the United States. But even if no day is complete without a grande iced white chocolate mocha, we bet that there’s a lot you didn’t know about this mega-chain.
Starbucks was founded in 1971 by three friends who met at the University of San Francisco, and the first location, in Seattle, only sold whole roasted coffee beans, not brewed coffee. The company grew in popularity over the next several years, introducing brewed coffee and espresso, and by the time former employee Howard Schultz bought it in 1987, there were already six locations. Schultz implemented a rapid expansion program, and when the company went public in 1992, there were 140 outlets, with revenues of $73.5 million (as opposed to $1.3 million in 1987). In 2014, total revenues were $16.45 billion.
As the company continued to take over the world, management decided that the time was ripe to branch out from just coffee and introduce some food items. While only one in three Starbucks transactions includes food, the company is working hard to make Starbucks just as valid a culinary option as a coffee option. In 2012, they purchased the La Boulange bakery chain for $100 million and have completely overhauled the menu within the past few years. Because there are no kitchens in Starbucks, they’ve shifted to a frozen-food model, with hot items being reheated on the spot.
On the beverage side, the brand continues to look beyond coffee. The company purchased Tazo Tea in 1999 and Teavana in 2012, and they’re also now selling Fizzio sodas, Evolution Fresh cold-pressed juices, smoothies, and Starbucks Refreshers, which contain green coffee extract.
It seems as if Starbucks is in the news every week for one reason or another, whether it’s because they’re rolling out almond milk, testing out biodegradable coffee cups, partnering with an Italian bakery to improve their food, or adding to their seemingly endless array of Frappuccinos. The company is on a constant mission to improve and innovate, working hard to stay ahead of the curve. Read on to learn 20 things you might not have known about this nearly ubiquitous chain.