A Look Back At The Evolution Of Starbucks In Photos

A Look Back At The Evolution Of Starbucks In Photos
Drive-Through and Walk-Up Starbucks Shop in IllinoisTim BoyleGetty Images

Thanks to Starbucks, no matter where you go in the world, you can start your day with your go-to coffee order. Well, *practically* anywhere. There are over 30,000 stores worldwide—from Beijing to Boston…not to mention Starbucks beans in most grocery stores. But before the Seattle-based company expanded across the globe, it was just a local coffeehouse. See the rise of one of the world’s biggest brands in photos.

1 of 39

1971: The Original Starbucks Opens

Before Starbucks was a global chain, it was just a popular coffee shop in Pike Place Market in Seattle, WA. The original store that started it all opened in 1971.

2 of 39

1982: Howard Schultz Joins The Team

The former Chairman and CEO of the company, Howard Schultz, joined Starbucks in 1982 as the Director of Retail Operations.

3 of 39

1983: A Visit to Italy Changes Everything

After taking inspiration from the many espresso bars and coffee shops he saw while visiting Italy, Schultz returns to the United States set on reinventing the American coffeehouse culture.

4 of 39

1984: A New Concept Emerges

In 1984, Schultz convinced the Starbucks founders to test a coffeehouse feel in a new store they were opening in downtown Seattle. Here, the first Starbucks café latte was served.

5 of 39

1987: Sold!

Schultz left the company in 1985 to found Il Giornale, an Italian coffeehouse chain that brewed Starbucks beans. Two years later, he returned and acquired Starbucks into his new company, forming the Starbucks Corporation. After the acquisition, Schultz opened three new stores, bringing the chain’s total number of locations to 17.

6 of 39

1988: The Key To Happy Employees

As Chief Executive Officer, Schultz put in place a plan for all full- and part-time employees (including spouses) to receive full health benefits and coverage. This was part of Schultz’s incentive plan to keep long-term baristas and employees.

7 of 39

1989: Rapid Growth

Just four years after being acquired, Starbucks began a quest of massive expansion. By 1989, the total number of stores more than doubled with 55 locations.

8 of 39

1990: The Coffeehouse Vibe Catches On

In 1990, the relaxed coffeehouse vibe that Starbucks offered in its stores took off like wildfire. Throughout the decade, the company saw major growth across the country and underwent an expansion of its Seattle headquarters.

9 of 39

1991: A New Language

As a way to solidify the brand’s unique culture, the company created a system that was different from your average coffee shop—starting with the sizes. Instead of small, medium, and large, Starbucks served tall, grande, and venti beverages.

10 of 39

1992: Starbucks Heads To Wall Street

The company completed an initial public offering in 1992 for $17 per share and raised about $25 million. At the time of the completed offering, the coffee company had over 140 stores open across North America and was becoming one of the most popular chains in the country.

11 of 39

1994: The First Starbucks Drive Thru

In the early ’90s, Starbucks realized there was a heavy demand for drive-thru restaurants, so they began testing this option in Southern California locations in 1994.

12 of 39

1995: Introducing The Frappuccino

In 1995, Starbucks added a new addition to its menus with blended beverages, most importantly, the Frappuccino. The drink became wildly popular, with everyone from Bill Clinton to Britney Spears ordering it.

13 of 39

1996: Starbucks Opens In Asia

Starbucks opened its first stores outside of North America in 1996 in Japan and Singapore.

14 of 39

1996: The Brand Branches Out

By 1996, the coffee company began dipping its toe into a diverse range of products, including Starbucks branded ice cream.

15 of 39

1997: The Starbucks Foundation Is Created

The company founded the Starbucks Foundation with the mission of strengthening the communities Starbucks serves. The foundation’s first action was funding a literacy program throughout the United States and Canada.

16 of 39

1998: Starbucks Gets Stocked In Stores

In 1998, the company began selling different blends of coffee beans in grocery stores across the United States for customers who wanted their Starbucks fix at home, too.

17 of 39

1998: A ‘Magic’ Collaboration

Magic Johnson teamed up with the company to help with its social impact projects. He visited several locations in underserved neighborhoods across the country.

18 of 39

1999: Protesters Target Starbucks

Starbucks became the focus of protesters in 2009, as they rallied in Seattle during the World Trade Organization Summit. The brand was seen as the poster child for corporations and mass consumption and was vandalized by anti-WTO activists.

19 of 39

1999: Starbucks Inspires British Politicians

Starbucks became a prime example for British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Chancellor Gordon Brown’s initiative to offer tax breaks to encourage employee share ownership in businesses, as the company was the first to offer stock options to part-time employees in 1991.

20 of 39

2000: Tazo Tea Joins Starbucks

In 2000, Starbucks acquired Tazo Tea and subsequently rolled out a new line of iced beverages. The same year, the company began sourcing fair trade coffee in an effort to strive for higher ethical standards.

21 of 39

2000: Schultz Changes Roles

After a decade of supreme growth and almost 20 years as CEO, Schultz stepped down. He kept his title of chairman so he could focus on more global initiatives.

22 of 39

2001: Introducing The Starbucks Card

The Starbucks Card became available in 2001, with which you could earn loyalty points and rewards.

23 of 39

2002: Let There Be Wi-Fi

In 2002, the coffee company serviced each of its locations with fully powered free Wi-Fi. Still early in the digital age, the idea soon made Starbucks the most buzzed-about new work spaces.

24 of 39

2003: McDonald’s Throws Its Hat Into The Ring

In an effort to compete with Starbucks, McDonald’s began testing out a McCafé concept—complete with all of the essentials of a coffeehouse.

25 of 39

2004: New York Runs On Starbucks

In 2004, Starbucks became the largest food chain in Manhattan, with 150 outlets across the five boroughs.

26 of 39

2004: France Says ‘Bonjour’ To Starbucks

When Starbucks arrived in Paris, it was a big deal for the company, as the country was one of the last places in Europe for it to expand to.

27 of 39

2004: Baristas Become Coffee Masters

In 2004, Starbucks launched the Coffee Master Program in an effort to help baristas enhance their skills and knowledge of their craft. The rigorous program breaks down everything from the taste profiles and nuances of different blends to the deep history of coffee on a global scale.

28 of 39

2005: Starbucks Acquires Ethos Water

Starbucks acquired Ethos Water in 2005, an ethically- and socially-conscious water brand, which aligned with the company’s high ethical standards and goal to give back as much as it makes.

29 of 39

2008: Howard Schultz Is Reinstated As CEO

Schultz returned to the position of CEO after almost a decade. He hit the ground running, leading the company into a transformative period—again.

30 of 39

2008: A Health Conscious Pivot

There was a push for health transparency in the 2000s, especially amongst chain restaurants. Mayor Bloomberg in New York City imposed a law on all chains to display calorie contents for food and beverages. That same year, Starbucks decided to eliminate all trans fat from its products and switched its standard milk to 2 percent for all barista-made drinks.

XL subscribe to our newsletter banner

Get the latest news and advice on COVID-19, direct from the experts in your inbox. Join hundreds of thousands who trust experts by subscribing to our newsletter.

Send your news and stories to us news@climaxradio.co.uk or newstories@climaxnewsroom.com and WhatsApp: +447747873668.

Before you go...

Democratic norms are being stress-tested all over the world, and the past few years have thrown up all kinds of questions we didn't know needed clarifying – how long is too long for a parliamentary prorogation? How far should politicians be allowed to intervene in court cases? To monitor these issues as closely as we have in the past we need your support, so please consider donating to The Climax News Room.