Three anthropologists walked into a Starbucks

by Carl Natale on September 15, 2013

I don’t need a degree in anthropology to tell you that the local Starbucks staff is very friendly and well trained in welcoming customers. But apparently it helped three anthropologists figure out that Starbucks was friendlier than local coffee shops in Boston.

What’s really interesting is how Kevin Hartnett begins writing about it in

“The knock on chain stores is that they hurt community. Starbucks comes in, drives your local barista out of business, and a formerly chummy group of neighbors turns into a bunch of anonymous latte drones.”

That “knock” comes from the assumption that local businesses are better at customer service. But you’re not going to find friendlier customer service unless the business — local or chain — has made it part of the culture.

Friendliness and superior service are not accidents. They are the result of training that goes beyond how to make lattes and management expectations. Unless local business owners make that commitment, they are going to lose business to more welcoming businesses — local and chains.

Read their findings: The Social Transformation of Coffee Houses: The Emergence of Chain Establishments and the Private Nature of Usage

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