Important Update: I Take It All Back…
Starbucks has delivered on its promise to provide much faster wifi through its partnership with Google. Basically, at the Starbucks I frequent in far northern California and the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon, the connections are now quite fast, certainly on par with other coffee shops I hang out at, such as Noble Coffee and Rogue Valley Coffee Roasters in Ashland, Oregon.
This is how it was in early 2014, though…
Your Wi-Fi connection sucks. Seriously.
I’m a freelance writer, and like many freelancers, and business travelers, and location-independent self-employed folks, I frequent coffee shops.
Why? Well, I do like coffee.
But I come primarily because I need to do some work on my laptop, or I’m meeting with a client. In both cases I need a reliable, reasonably fast Internet connection.
Here’s What I Like About Starbucks
Overall your coffee is reasonably tasty, and it’s consistent.
You have very friendly and attentive staff who seem to truly enjoy working for you.
You give your staff very good benefits, at least compared to similar companies in your industry.
You open very early, a huge plus for an early riser like me.
You often play quality music, music I like, but at a volume low enough that I can still pay attention to my work when I need to.
You have a zillion locations, which means you’re convenient and easy to find when I’m traveling.
All are good reasons why I’ve had a gold card since 2008, and why I owned your stock for a while.
And What I Don’t Like?
That slow Wi-Fi Internet connection that takes 30 seconds or more to load a basic web page, or it just doesn’t load it all.
I’m not talking about watching video online, or even listening to Pandora. I’m talking about checking e-mail. Or reading an article. Or doing research for a freelance writing project. Or looking at a client’s website. The most basic of the basic things one does online.
You are failing at that.
This may not be happening at all your stores, but it is definitely the case at the Starbucks I frequent in southern Oregon and far northern California, and I’m talking nearly a dozen or more locations. And it’s been that way since you first began offering Wi-Fi several years ago.
I know you have recently partnered with Google to speed things up, and maybe that will help alleviate the problem.
The Bottom Line, Starbucks…
If you want business people to conduct business at your coffee shops, you must have fast, reliable Internet.
Most of the independent coffee shops do have that, and many also have good coffee and a cool atmosphere. And that’s why I’m almost always at those independents.
Do you go to Starbucks? What’s been your experience trying to get your work done there? How does Starbucks compare to independent coffee shops and small, local chains?