◎ 財經小詞典：market capitalization
Starbucks to Claim the Crown of Largest Global Restaurant Chain?
To the casual observer, the proliferation of Starbucks may seem an overnight occurrence. In point of fact, Starbucks has been operating for over 40 years. Founded in 1971 amid Seattle's Pike Place Market by two teachers and a writer, Starbucks purportedly lifted its iconic name from Melville's Moby Dick. Initially, Starbucks only sold beans and coffee equipment but picked up steam after being purchased by Howard Schultz.
While working as Starbucks' director of retail operations and marketing, Schultz went on a bean-purchasing trip to Italy in 1983. There he was inspired by Milan's espresso shops and resolved to import this form of coffee culture to America. After parting ways with Starbucks, Schultz opened his cafe chain, Il Giornale, in 1985. These cafes were so successful that Schultz purchased Starbucks in 1987, whereupon he rebranded the Il Giornale locations into Starbucks, and the rest is history.
Since then, Starbucks began popping up across North America. The company completed its initial public offering in 1992 and opened locations outside of North America in 1996. By the mid-2000s, Starbucks was opening between two to six stores globally per day. However, the economic crisis of 2007-2008 strained consumers' finances and subsequently crippled Starbucks. In one year, Starbucks closed over 600 U.S. locations and laid off over 12,000 employees. Schultz believed that the chain had lost touch with its clientele during its frenzied growth and considered it cheaper to reinvest in them rather than lose them.
在星巴克擔任零售經營與行銷總監期間，舒茨於 1983 年到義大利進行了一趟咖啡豆採購之旅。在那裡，他受到米蘭咖啡館的啟發，決定要將此種咖啡文化引進美國。與星巴克分道揚鑣後，舒茨在 1985 年開了自己的連鎖咖啡店──Il Giornale。這些咖啡店相當成功，讓舒茨得以在 1987 年收購星巴克，不久後他重塑 Il Giornale 的店面以整併進星巴克體系，而後來的事大家就都知道了。
從那時起，星巴克開始在北美洲各地展店。這家公司於 1992 年完成首次公開發行，並在 1996 年於北美以外的地區開店。到了 2000 年代中期，星巴克的全球單日開店數來到二至六家。然而，2007 至 2008 年的經濟危機導致消費者財務緊縮，也隨之衝擊了星巴克。一年之內，星巴克關閉六百多間的美國店面，並解僱超過一萬二千名員工。舒茨確信這個連鎖事業在飆速成長期間，已失去了與顧客的連結，他認為重新投資在顧客身上要比失去他們划算多了。