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Starbucks President Jim Alling '83 Discusses Challenges of Chain's Expansion with TIME

Starbucks President Jim Alling '83 Discusses Challenges of Chain's Expansion with TIME

January 19, 2007

Jim Alling.jpgJanuary 19, 2007, Greencastle, Ind. - "As much as we want to meet people's desire to produce beverages quickly, we also realize that people want a smile with their drink, that they don't want to feel rushed," Jim Alling, president of Starbucks Coffee U.S. and 1983 graduate of DePauw, tells TIME. A recent article in the magazine, "The Big Gulp at Starbucks," examines the coffee chain's ambitious expansion plans.

Barbara Kiviat writes, "Striking a balance between efficiency and atmosphere is largely why it took 3 1/2 years Starbucks Coffee Beans.jpgto roll out ovens, the biggest thing to hit Starbucks since the blender's 1995 debut. Starbucks knew there was demand -- witness the bags of food carried in -- but creating a good-looking oven that could cook a range of items and contain the odor -- lest a store not smell first and foremost of coffee -- was a challenge. Even after some breakfast sandwiches were developed, entirely new deployment routines had to be created so that employees would not slow the line. 'If our espresso-only or drip-only customers suffered,' says Alling, 'it wouldn't be worth doing.'"

The article alsoStarbucks Logo.jpg notes, "Hot breakfast sandwiches are a success in the handful of big cities they have reached so far, like Chicago and New York, where they add an average of $35,000 a year to the sales of each store--more than the $30,000 that comes from cold sandwiches and salads. Hot lunch sandwiches and quiche, now being tested, might someday draw a midday crowd--a real prospect for a company that currently sees 60% of its sales before 10 a.m."

Read the complete text at TIME's Web site. Learn more about Jim Alling in this previous story.