Posted by Sheila Shayon on September 14, 2010 04:30 PM
Starbucks set the blogs agog last week, when the company's 11,000 drive-thru stores in the US started installing new outdoor menus featuring fall items, such as Grande (16 oz.) and Venti (20 oz.) sized Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Missing in action: the comparatively smaller and cheaper, humble Tall (12 oz.) beverage choice.
Was this a not-so-subtle nudge toward its pricier, bigger-sized beverages? Concerned coffee lovers, noting that almost half (44%, to be exact) of Starbucks' locations reported a same-store decline in sales this summer (according to the National Restaurant Association), were convinced this was the case.
Starbucks' response: nothing nefarious was intended. The menu change was in response to customer requests for simplified drive-thru menus. In fact, they reduced the number of items on outdoor menus from 70 to 25, eliminating less popular items including the tall size.
"We are not being sneaky," said Starbucks spokeswoman Deb Trevino to USA Today. "We did it because our customers were frustrated with the difficulty of reading our drive-through menus."
That said, neither Tall nor Short (8 oz.) drinks are listed anymore on menus inside or out its stores. Starbucks says they’ll be using that extra room on their menus to list calories as required by law starting in 2011.
Customers can still ask for tall or short drinks, they just won't be listed, prompting Trevino to add that "if customers don't like a change we've made, we listen and will make changes, again." Indeed, the brand tweeted today that "based on feedback we're updating our new drive-thru menus to remind you that the Tall size is always available."
At least the lyrics won't have to be tweaked to the fan ditty above.