With 60 million customers stopping in every week, Starbucks is the world's most popular business, yet some 50 million people don't ever buy coffee at Starbucks because they think —rightly or wrongly — that it's "over-roasted."
And for decades, Starbucks has been blowing them off (just as it refused to make lattes with 2-percent milk) and watched almost half the nation's coffee drinkers buy less-aggressive java from competitors.
Now, finally, the Mermaid's handlers have seen the light — the light roast, that is. Two of them, actually: a South American blend called Veranda, and an East African blend named Willow, both of which will be packaged as "Blonde."
Two darker roasts will also get new packaging: Medium (like the Pike Place Roast introduced three years ago), and Bold (like the traditional Italian and French roasts).
The Blonde may be lighter in body but retains a lot of "nutty" character, while its older siblings have more chocolate and woody notes.
It took 18 months for Starbucks to perfect the lighter roasting technique and to coordinate the new wardrobe. For the first time, all its coffees will wear one of the three new color-coordinated uniforms in the Starbucks cafes and in grocery stores.
Decaf and VIA instant will wear similar colors.
If you're from Portland, Ore., you know about Jake's Famous Crawfish, the city's iconic, old-fashioned fish house, which could be the model for historic seafood restaurants in a category of decor that's not really antique, but certainly "old hometown”: dark wood, stained-glass chandeliers, oil paintings, starched linens. Nothing too sleek, weird or modern — just fresh seafood.
Jake's was founded in 1892 and thrived, first as a sort of "gentlemen's club," then, as time went on, with early commitments to Oregon wine and the freshest fish available.
It was taken over 80 years later by William McCormick, who hired Doug Schmick as general manager. They opened the first McCormick & Schmick's in downtown Portland in 1979 and expanded nationwide over the next quarter-century; two of its 90 units are in Downtown Seattle, one in South Lake Union, one in Bellevue.
Much of the expansion was funded by an IPO, and one of the investors was a Texas restaurant operator named Tillman Fertitta, who had taken over Landry's Seafood in the 1980s, when there were only two stores. Today, there are 21 Landry's, along with 30-some additional brands (Bubba Gump, Claim Jumper, Rainforest Cafe), all under the Landry's umbrella.
Fertitta became the largest individual shareholder in McCormick & Schmick’s and last year decided to buy it outright. When the M&S board resisted, Fertitta approached individual shareholders and last month announced that he had bought 88 percent of the shares.
McCormick & Schmick’s epitomizes a strong corporate commitment to fresh seafood; it prints updated menus twice a day at the units in Seattle, but it hasn’t been immune to the recession. The company lost nearly $70 million in 2008 and $1.1 million in the first quarter of 2009, according to reports published in the Portland Business Journal.
Even though it was Oregon's 18thlargest publicly traded company, with annual sales of $300 million, management
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