Category Archives: Food and Drink

STRATEGY : My Comments to Starbucks Customer Service

A little while ago I spoke to a charming and very efficient customer services representative at Starbucks about an issue I had with their loyalty card.

Although that issue was resolved seamlessly, I also felt the need to suggest the following :

1 : Offer auto top-up on company loyalty card : it’s a faff topping up a loyalty card as the process involves 2 card transactions – particularly off-putting at peak times (when you are most likely to be in there). Plus, why add something else to do to someone’s ever increasing list of things to do? I generally don’t bother to top up and instead pay with money or a debit card (1 transaction).  Also, when it comes to my caffeine habit I like to follow an ignorance is bliss strategy – I’d rather not know how much I’m spending on external coffees when I should be making them all at home.  By having to constantly top up myself I am only too aware of this expense. 

2 : Offer organic milk : Starbucks is really behind its competitors with this one.  The company focus on Fair Trade which is great, but I’m equally concerned with organic when it comes to milk – I want milk from cows who have a better diet and have grazed on grass. I’m sure I’m not alone on this one.

VISUAL MERCHANDISING : Aesthetically Pleasing Food Offer @ Starbucks

I admit to being quite partial to my daily latte from Starbucks, but never have I been tempted by their food offer – cheap and nasty looking pastries in a soulless and uninspiring counter display.  How many people have I seen grab their morning coffee from Starbucks only to choose their breakfast treat from the Paul’s nearby (where the displays are beautiful and product authentic). 

But now Starbucks have done a re-haul with their food.  The Live Well range is a healthier and more wholesome affair with new products and better ingredients…but what’s interesting is how appealing and stylish it looks thanks to a chic but really simple black design theme – which includes the pack, marketing material and cleverly, the black ‘boards’ which the products sit on.  It’s so effective that I catch myself staring at the food and contemplating a purchase.  On the occasions that I’ve visited, the counters have been pretty empty so I’m wondering if I’m not alone with these thoughts!

Starbucks display

TREND : Londoners and Ice Cream

Ice cream bars are popping up all over London.   Much like the gourmet chocolate and cupcake stores/cafes trend of the last few years * ice cream dine n’ retail seems to be where it’s at now. 

Some examples west-side include upscale gelataria Gelato Mio on Holland Park Road which has opened another branch at Notting Hill Gate, the recently opened (and very nice) Ca’puccino cafe at Westfields which offers a big range of delicious home made ice creams, and pop up shop Icecreamists opens today in Selfridges offering a wild and fabulous range of flavours. 

*  …btw – new cupcake store opening on Kensington Park Road soon….

Ice cream

EYE : Pix – New resto on Westbourne Grove

A new pintxo bar called Pix will open on Sep 15th on Westbourne Grove – occupying the former Tea Palace site.  From what I can see they’ve done a fine job – particularly as the position is a hard one to get right.  The decor is dark and cosy with stylish signing : all blackish walls, roughed up/ mismatched/ casual furniture and upside down anglepoise lamps as ceiling lights….v cool. Loving the greyhound / lurcher dog statues too.  

Westbourne Grove is going very Euro indeed.  Adding to the continental feel is the imminent opening of Les Petites which will join fellow French stores Zadig & Voltaire and Loft in the strip that I call French Alley.




French-AlleyFrench Alley

BEAUTY : What’s New July



Trends in milk:

1 – Functional milk – milk with clear health benefits seem to be popular in Italy.

Milk Italy


Trends in yoghurt :

1. Probiotics – live bacteria is big in this market – much more so than in the UK (I’ve been told that Slovenia is the wellness centre of Europe which may explain!)

Other products of interest :

2 – EGO Slim and Vital – a low fat drinking yoghurt which contains essential amino acid L-Carnitine and Coenzymes Q1o for energy…this is what the EGO website says about  the product benefits:

  • Greater fat burning and its more efficient conversion into energy,
  • Faster regeneration after physical workout
  • An appropriate supply of essential nutrients to the heart, brain, immune cells and many other vital body parts.

The product is aimed at dieters, athletes, pregnant women and anyone who wants to maintain a healthy body weight along with physical activity and vitality.  I tried the plain version – interestingly it was completely unsweetened, which is unusual for an on-the-go drink.  Other flavours include strawberry, peach and tropical fruit.

Ego Slim & Vital

3 – EGO Vec Kot (More Than) Yoghurts – probiotic yoghurts in flavours which include flowers, herbs and plants eg strawberry and rose, apple and basil, lime and aloe vera (I’m not sure if these ingredients are for health / beauty benefits or just for flavouring)