Customers expecting a few new options on Starbucks' menu may be surprised when they roll up to one of the chain's drive-through outlets. Yes, there is the toffee mocha, a sticky-sweet new offering, and the seasonal-favorite pumpkin spice latte. But: the "tall" size is off the menu.
Yes, the tall is still on the menu inside stores that feature indoor seating. But in every drive-through Starbucks our correspondents checked; from Oregon to Texas to North Carolina; the new signage listed only "grande" and "venti." Customers who want a "tall" beverage could get one, but it was a special, in-the-know request.
First mentioned in the Consumerist, the tall shorting is part of a menu revamp that company representatives (when the company does get back to us) might say helps simplify ordering for its busy customers, who are rarin' to get off to work, or yoga, or wherever else it is people go after spending $8.77 on a coffee-based drink and a muffin. The company may or may not mention that this simplification also comes at the expense of customers' wallets. Using a factory operations analogy, you are the bottleneck. Deciding between dozens of different drink options, and then which size should you get? To save customers from having to agonize over the options and the visual temptation of saving money by downsizing your drink, Starbucks cut the options.
The resulting menus are big on photographic representation and small on details. In addition to removing the tall option, iced coffees, ciders, donuts and other items are gone. Only customers already familiar with the Starbucks menu will get the option of comparing prices, hemming and hawing over options (let's see, is the iced latte with milk and a shot of vanilla cheaper than the vanilla frappuccino?), and picking the less-expensive choice.
It's classic customer manipulation and is likely carefully crafted to increase speed through the delivery window and increase average ticket size (I listen to analyst conference calls every quarter and a jump in average ticket size is management's favorite, favorite thing).
"Shocking" would be the wrong description for this menu mumbo-jumbo. Those who drive through the Starbucks window in the first place may not be overly concerned with frugality. It's rather transparent and insulting, however, to those of us who wish our family and friends would spend a little less time and money sipping sweet, caffeinated beverages behind the wheels of their cars. And if you're one of those who very occasionally ends up at a Starbucks drive through, take heart: you can still get hyped up with a tall coffee at Starbucks. Just take it slow.
Starbucks figures customers in cars don't order 'Tall'