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Some Baristas And Customers Put Off By Via Strong-Arming

Despite -- or perhaps because of -- its intense internal (pep rallies) and external (TV ads) marketing efforts, Starbucks is finding that its Via instant coffee brand can be a tough sell among both baristas and customers. Susan Berfield relies mostly on coffee blogs, including the company's, to finds examples of disgruntled employees and consumers.

Blogs one barista: "We were just told to place a Via 12-pack in the customer's hand while asking if they would 'like to add some Via to their order.' I have seen more annoyed customers than enthusiastic ones from all these strong-arm sales tactics." Writes one customer: "Please no more high-pressure Via sales pitches. It's annoying ... it's completely out of line with Starbucks' vibe."

Starbucks Coffee U.S. president Clifford Burrows says he has seen the criticism "but the general spirit is one of enthusiasm about Via." And, as Berfield writes, it's too early to say whether Via will be a success or not.



Read the whole story at Business Week »

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