The other day while checking out new books at Barnes and Noble, I came across the story of how a young Howard Schultz, the current CEO of Starbucks, was inspired by a trip he took to Italy that would change his life completely and change the restaurant business.
In 1981 Schultz was a twenty-eight-year-old director of marketing for Starbucks and in Milan, Italy, on a buying trip. He noticed that not only did the ubiquitous coffee shops there make great espresso, but they also served as local meeting places. These shops were the hubs of the community. Schultz’s Italian excursion and the rich experiences he had at those small coffee shops would serve as the model for his aggressive overhaul and growth strategy. We all know the amazing end to this story. Starbucks is now the largest coffeehouse company in the world, with over 19,500 stores in over fifty countries.