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Cohen, Starbucks: ‘the key to a successfull business is to have great people’

Major Cohen, Sr. Project Manager, Starbucks

BOSTON – On the sidelines of the World Barista Championship in Boston, we had the occasion to talk wit Major Cohen, Sr. Project Manager, Starbucks Global. Here is the interview we had with him.

What’s your job in the company?

“I’m Senior Project Manager. But un-ufficially, I’m the coffee ambassador of Starbucks in China and Asia Pacific Markets. So in all of the markets outside of Usa and Latin America, where we’ve hundred of thousands of people working. And I’m part of the team that supports they’re education.”

What is the secret to mantain stable quality?

“Quality has always been a benchmark from the very beginning of Starbucks. And we take great pride in the consistency in quality. And of the coffee that we deliver to the more even important part of our business, which is our baristas. And I think withouth questions our baristas are among the best in the world. In delivering a fantastic experience for our customers who are in the end the most important.”

What is the origin of Starbucks success?

“A great coffee shop begins with a beutifull space. And than, in it you have the an incredible equipment. The best of the best. So, you deliver in it the best of products that you put in the hand of barista. And again: I think the key to any successfull business which involves people is  to have great people.”

What is the most important country for Starbucks?

“I think there isn’t one country that is more important for Starbucks. We started in the Usa and we’re really proud of the business that we have created there. I believe right now we’re getting a lot of news around the world. We’re doing a lot in China and in Asian market in particular.

But China is the one that’s coming up so often because it’s a huge oportunity for all of us in coffee. And we’ve been there and we’ve a woderfull success. But we’re not stopping.

One of the things that I’ve heard: we’re opening a store about every fifteen hours in China somewhere. So when you think about growth. our is considerable in China.”

The italian opening in Milan has a big success in the media. Why has Starbucks waited so many years to come in Italy? And why in this a big way?

“I think that what we wanted to do is, and I quote Howard Schultz: ” I had a great respect for Italy from the very first time I visited it. Long ago.” He wanted someday to bring the Starbucks experience in a way that would be respectfull and contributing. So we approached it with great care. We’ve opened a great Roastery in Milan and now we’re opening other store that are great too. We’re doing a good job there and that makes us very proud.”

What’s the future of Starbucks?

“I think with no question we’re going continue to growth. Insisting with the innovation around the customer experience both with the coffee equipment. But another place is the technology. Because our cunstomers ask us to transact the eperience in novel ways today. Many people don’t want to use cash, or don’t want to stay in the store but they want to order outside the store and just run into the store. And we’re trying to bring the experience to what the customers want, no matter what it is.”

Many tried to copy Starbucks around the world

It’s a great form of flattery. We’re driven by what is the right thing to do for quality for our people. Making sure that the experience is exceptional for our customers. We respect all of our competitors and we continue to be a leader and a innovator.”