Rivals Earn as Starbucks Learns

Rival coffee chains target customers as Starbucks takes training break
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 8:10 AM CST
Baristas participate in espresso training at Starbucks in New York, February 26, 2008. Starbucks closed the doors of its 7,100 company-operated stores across America for an unprecedented barista training...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Starbucks customers and competition alike got to know each other yesterday as the java giant closed for a 3-hour training break for all employee, reports the AP. "Free-market economy, baby! You've got to take advantage of what the competition throws at you," said one former Starbucks devotee swilling a competitor's discounted joe.

Starbucks, reeling from sliding stocks, say the training will ensure its coffee lives up to the new promise posted in every store: "Your drink should be perfect, every time." That's all well and good, but Dunkin' Donuts slashed coffee prices to 99 cents, proclaiming "no coffee lover (should be) denied a delicious espresso-based beverage," and one Seattle chain handed out free espressos to hordes.