Day 5: How Starbucks Can Teach Us About Gathering
Have you ever been moved to tears by a good pie? I haven't, I was simply asking if you have. I think I would if it was my Grandma who had made the pie and I had one more day with her. But, it wouldn't be the pie itself; rather, it would be the person, the moment, the taste inciting a memory. Food memories do just that, don't they.
Ben sent me a link today about the great PSL shortage of '12 at various Starbucks. I'm intrigued by the human element & marketing, which is what Starbucks aims to do. They also happen to do it quite well. Starbucks wasn't created to be the best coffee. They were aiming to create an experience, while coffee was merely the vehicle. Turn on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest and you're sure to find the latest PSL recipe (you know mine is really the best--right?) or recent PSL purchase. This will tell you of their success as seen in the Wall Street Journal article, as people say, "It just tastes like fall."
How can we be like Starbucks? This isn't a moral question on whether you like their coffee or hate it or think they're corporate. How they study the human pysche through taste, through experience.
How do you know it's fall? Pumpkin Spice Latte. Caramel Apple Cider
How can you tell Christmas is coming? Little red paper cups filled with eggnog or peppermint mochas.
They are creating a space (their cozy chairs & free wi-fi) with a vehicle (coffee drinks) to formulate an experience for the gathering (friends meeting, stories shared, business). So, back to this pie.
I imagine if my Grandma Cox didn't die at the early age of 57 she would have baked me a pie. I imagine she would be alive when I was still in college and I would visit her in the summer to get away from the AZ heat. It would be August, and I would help roll out the dough. We would gather pears and sit talking about my fears & dreams as we peeled them. She would reassure me and tell me I'm smart, beautiful & lovely.
That pear pie would signify the best taste I ever knew, because that was my experience, my moment. That pear pie wouldn't satisfy you the same way, and that's really not the point. What is the point then? We get to create memories and experiences wherever we find ourselves. I see Starbucks with their corporate brilliance and take the research to apply to my family element.
I make pancakes on a Monday morning, even if pancakes are a lazy morning food; because, V should have occasional weekday pancakes. I serve dinner on white platters, because I want my family to remember dinner as a special time together. I pay mind to the taste of meat sauce, because I want to stamp these flavors into the mind's soul of my children. When they remember mama, they remember how the food tasted like none other, even if to no one else. It's the food bridging gaps not creating rifts, because it's not about the food--it's about the people.