How Did Starbucks Build Its Sustainable Competitive Advantage? -Business Strategy and The Key Success Factors

Shah Mohammed
33 min readOct 5, 2018

An English teacher, Jerry Baldwin, History teacher Zev Siegel, and Writer Gordon Bowker, inspired by a coffee connoisseur & entrepreneur Alfred Peet, opened their first Starbucks store in Seattle on March 31, 1971.

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Due to financial difficulties in the mid-1980s, they had to sell their stores to their former manager, Howard Schultz. In the year 1986, Starbucks had only six stores. Howard, then re-imagined and re-invented Starbucks. As of 2018, the company operates stores at 28,218 locations worldwide.

How did Howard Schultz build Starbucks’ sustainable competitive advantage? What are the success factors?