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经济学人:星巴克 亏损巨头靠速溶咖啡来提神

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Business

商业报道
Starbucks
星巴克
Just add water
加水即成
The ailing giant turns to instant coffee for a pick-me-up
亏损巨头靠速溶咖啡来提神
NO ONE can accuse Howard Schultz of inaction since he returned as chief executive of Starbucks,
没有人可以指责重回星巴克的首席执行官霍华德·舒尔茨的无所作为,
the firm he built into a multinational only to watch it stumble under his successor.
他只是没想到看着他一手建起的跨国公司绊倒在他的继任者脚下。
Barely a month has gone by over the past year without the firm announcing some new initiative or other.
在过去的一年公司没有公布任何新的咖啡饮料,仅仅不到一个月,
The latest came on February 17th in New York, when Mr Schultz unveiled Via, an instant coffee which, he claims,
2月17日在纽约,舒尔茨先生推出Via,一种速溶咖啡,他声称,

tastes just as good as Java brewed in the shop by one of the firm's baristas.

其味道和星巴克咖啡大师在店里调配的Java一样香醇。
Mr Schultz hopes to win a share of the $17 billion or so the world spends on instant coffee—a product which, he sniffs, has not improved in decades.
舒尔茨先生希望赢得全球花在速溶咖啡约170亿美元上的一点份额—速溶咖啡,他嗤之以鼻地说,在过去的几十年里一点儿没改进。
Starbucks itself has spent 20 years pursuing the holy grail of an instant coffee that tastes as good as the fresh stuff.
星巴克用了20年所追求的圣杯速溶咖啡的味道和新磨的一样好。
Don Valencia, the firm's first head of research and development, who created the blended and frozen frappuccino drinks that earn Starbucks $2 billion a year,
唐?瓦伦西亚,星巴克公司研发部的首席研究员,他研发的法布奇诺咖啡为星巴克每年赢得2亿美元,
could never find a way to scale up an instant formula he had developed at home.
他在家里研究时一直不能找到一种好的方法即规模化生产的速溶配方。
When Mr Schultz returned as chief executive, he noticed that there had been some technological advances, allowing finer grinding, for example.
当舒尔茨先生重新回到星巴克任行政长官,他注意到,有了一些技术的进步,例如能够使咖啡豆更精细研磨。
So he asked the R&D team to repeat the recently deceased Valencia's experiments, and found that we had broken the code.
因此,他要求研发团队重做最近已故的Valencia实验,结果发现, 我们已经破译了密码 。
The name Via is a hat-tip to Valencia—though during development it was known as Jaws.
把这款速溶咖啡命名Via是向Valencia致敬,但在开发过程中它被称为大白鲨。
Starbucks says it has patents that should prevent competitors from quickly replicating Via, which will go on sale in some American stores next month.
星巴克表示,它拥有专利,可以防止竞争者迅速仿制Via,下个月美国的一些星巴克将开始出售Via。
The opportunity may, however, be biggest in other countries: in Britain over 80% of coffee sold is instant, compared with just 10% in America.
不过,在其他国家机会可以更大:英国80%以上的咖啡是速溶的,相比之下,美国速溶咖啡只有10%。
Assuming Starbucks drinkers decide that Via tastes good, the company will have to get the price right.
假设星巴克客人认为Via好喝,公司将不得不把价格定合适。
At first, it will come in packets of 12 or 3 individual servings, for 83 and 98 cents a cup respectively.
首先,它会分为3袋装或12袋装,分别为83美分和98美分一杯。
That is much more than other instants, but much less than a cup of coffee at one of Starbucks' stores.
这比其他速溶咖啡贵很多 ,但远远低于任何一个星巴克的门店的一杯咖啡。
The risk is that the firm's existing customers may abandon counter service and start making their own cup of instant.
市场的风险在于,公司现有的顾客可能会放弃柜台服务,而开始泡速溶咖啡。
That would encourage them to visit Starbucks less often, a trend that is already gathering pace with the recession.
这将促使他们去星巴克消费的次数下降,这一趋势已经在加快衰退的步伐。
The nickname Fourbucks has not helped at a time when consumers have become cost-conscious.
当消费者已经开始省钱时,绰号Fourbucks的人是不会来星巴克消费的。
For the first time in Starbucks' history, same-store sales have fallen.
这是在星巴克的历史上,第一次同一店面销售额开始下降。
Mr Schultz has had to accelerate the store-closure programme that he had started in order to correct the over-expansion which prompted his return to the helm.
舒尔茨先生不得不加快店铺关闭方案,他已经开始关闭店面以便纠正过度扩张,从而使他重回咖啡王国。
To keep customers coming to remaining outlets, he might experiment with discounts such as cheap combination meals of a drink and food.
为了让顾客常来剩下的店铺,他可能会尝试打折,如廉价的套餐的饮料和食品。
He also wants a visit to a Starbucks shop to be a uniquely uplifting experience.
他还希望顾客访问星巴克是一个独特的振奋的体验 。
Improving the smell in stores by changing the cheese used in breakfast sandwiches was a start.
替换三明治早餐里的奶酪来改善店里的进餐气氛就是一个开始。
But ensuring that staff are enthusiastic will be especially difficult when jobs are disappearing.
但要确保员工的工作热情将是特别困难的,当工作岗位正在减少时。
Mr Schultz remains hostile to unions, but has decided to maintain the firm's popular health benefits, while cutting his own pay.
舒尔茨先生仍然敌视工会,但决定保持该公司广受欢迎的医疗保险,同时降低自己的工资。
Will all this be enough?
这样做就够了吗?
So far, investors seem sceptical:
迄今为止,投资者似乎持怀疑态度:
Starbucks' share price remains barely a quarter of its all-time high in 2006.
星巴克的股票价格仍然是2006年历史最高水平的四分之一。
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n. 应用; 申请; 专心
n. 应用软件程序

 
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n. 机会,时机

 
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