The Method: Six months training as barista, Starbucks’s new CEO takes charge
In the wake of concerns flagged by customers who often have to stand in long queues to order complex beverages that Starbucks has to offer, Laxman Narasimhan plans to work alongside baristas to ‘understand why it sometimes is so aggravating to get a customer a simple cup of coffee’
Chicago: Laxman Narasimhan took over as the CEO of the coffeehouse company Starbucks this week. Narasimhan, who replaced former CEO Howard Schultz, has big plans for the company.
An exclusive interview with Wall Street Journal reveals that even before he was appointed in the position, Narasimhan, for months, immersed himself in the day-to-day operations of the world’s largest coffee chain. He said that he even spent time working as a barista at different cafes.
The first order of business for the former PepsiCo Inc executive is to focus on the brand’s sprawling supply chain.
Talking about the wide range of cup and lid pairings at Starbucks, Narasimhan said, “It was startling to me, how many we had. We’ve got things to do to become more disciplined.”
In the wake of concerns flagged by customers who often have to stand in long queues to order complex beverages that Starbucks has to offer, the new CEO plans to work alongside baristas to “understand why it sometimes is so aggravating to get a customer a simple cup of coffee.”
He said, “We have got to find ways to ensure that we do listen and stay connected.”
After he left his previous company Reckitt Benckiser Group PLC in September last year, Narasimhan spent over six months training as a certified barista.
Unionisation push in Starbucks
A union of baristas working at Starbucks welcomed the new CEO with the announcement of strikes in about 100 cafes across US.
In the past 18 months, around three per cent of the chain’s 9,300 stores in US have voted to unionise.
Acknowledging their right to unionise, Narasimhan said that he will “continue Starbucks’s approach to asking workers to directly voice their concerns to the company.”
Narasimhan’s plan to continue working as barista
In an interview with CNN, Narasimhan said, “To keep us close to the culture and our customers, as well as to our challenges and opportunities, I intend to continue working in stores for a half day each month.”
Starbucks has bagged $1 billion in investments as the company aims at updating training, improving equipment and raising the wages of workers.
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