Starbucks:有靈魂的企業

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Starbucks: A Company with Soul

Howard Schultz grew up poor in the 1950s in a housing project in Brooklyn. When his father broke his leg at work, he received no benefits, and the family became even poorer. “I saw the fracturing of the American dream firsthand at the age of seven,” recalls Howard. A football scholarship served as his exit visa, and he became the first college graduate in his family.

While working at a kitchenware company, Howard became curious about a small coffee bean retailer that was ordering large numbers of coffeemakers, so he decided to fly to Seattle and pay it a visit. “I stepped inside and saw what looked like a temple for the worship of coffee,” he remembers. The store, which was founded in 1971 by three aging hippies, was called Starbucks, after the coffee-drinking first mate in Moby-Dick. Howard convinced the owners to hire him as a manager, and moved his family to Seattle.

On a trip to Italy in 1983, Howard had his first café latte, and his eureka moment: Starbucks needed to expand from selling beans to serving exotic coffees in an inviting environment. But the owners didn’t agree, so he left to open his own café. When Starbucks was put up for sale in 1987, Howard bought it and combined the two businesses. Another turning point came when his father passed away. Not wanting his employees to be treated like his father had been, he began providing full benefits, including health insurance for part-time workers. This may be expensive, but Howard can afford it—he’s now worth over a billion dollars, and Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world.

Starbucks:有靈魂的企業

霍華舒茲在一九五○年代的布魯克林國宅長大。他的父親在工作時摔斷腿,卻沒有得到任何公司福利的補償金,於是一家人變得更窮困。「我七歲時親眼見到美國夢碎,」霍華回憶道。一筆美式足球獎學金讓他得以脫離貧窮,他也成為家裡第一個大學畢業生。

在一家廚具公司工作時,霍華對一家訂購大量咖啡機的小型咖啡豆零售商感到好奇,於是決定飛往西雅圖拜訪。「我踏進去,看到裡面宛如一座膜拜咖啡的廟宇。」他回憶道。那家店是三位年長的嬉皮於一九七一年成立的,店名叫星巴克,出自《白鯨記》中那位愛喝咖啡的大副名字。霍華說服老闆們聘請他擔任經理,並舉家遷至西雅圖。

一九八三年到義大利旅遊時,霍華喝到生平第一杯拿鐵,他靈機一動:星巴克必須拓展生意,從只賣咖啡豆擴展成一個提供異國風味咖啡的誘人環境。但老闆們不同意,所以他離開公司,開了自己的咖啡館。一九八七年星巴克頂讓出售時,霍華把它買下來,將兩家公司合而為一。另一個轉折點在他父親過世時到來。他不希望員工受到父親以往那般的對待,於是開始提供完整的福利,包括為兼職員工提供醫療保險。這或許要花大筆費用,但霍華付得起―他現在身價超過十億美元,星巴克也成了全球規模最大的咖啡連鎖店。

【實用字彙】

scholarship (n.) 獎學金
exotic (a.) 異國(風味)的,奇特的
inviting (a.) 吸引人的,誘人的
pass away (phr.) 過世
insurance (n.) 保險

本文取材自《改變人類生活的創意發明Eureka!:EZ TALK總編嚴選特刊

(本文獲EZTALK編輯部授權刊登)

圖片來源:pixabay

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