Starbucks gets no respect. Criticism of the coffee house that Howard Schultz built is rampant, at least some of it deserved. But I continue to buy my coffee there, though I also patronize any number of “local” roasteries. To date, I have done business at Starbucks franchises in U.S. cities from Seattle to San Diego, New York to Miami, and my international visits include Vancouver (British Columbia, Canada), Athens, Madrid and Barcelona, Beijing and Xi'an (China), Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo (Brazil).
And do you know why? Customer service. Because the employees, no matter where they work, give me what I want. And if I complain, they cheerfully make me a new drink. At “local” roasteries, even the best ones, baristas often want to give me what they think is good coffee, not necessarily what I want. I'm all for stretching my palate, but sometimes - most often in the morning - I'm not interested in trying something new. Or being lectured to. Dude, just give me what I want. And give it to me now.
So, yes, I buy coffee at Starbucks, at spots such as the downtown location pictured above. And I'll continue to do so, just as long as the overall business continues to emphasize customer service.