I snapped a photo with my cell phone camera and tweeted it via Posterous while I waited in the drive-thru line for my grande latte. I knew they hadn’t eliminated the tall size from the menu because, admittedly, I ordered a tall latte the day before INSIDE the Starbucks. So why did Starbucks omit the tall size from their latest drive-thru menu design?
I asked the woman who handed me my drink and she said she was unaware of the change and thanked me for telling her. I asked @Starbucks via Twitter and as of this writing have yet to receive a response.
But I can’t help but believe it’s because Starbucks wants to encourage drive-thru patrons to order a larger, more expensive coffee concoction.
In fact, the new menu omits a less expensive Starbucks staples altogether — plain hot Mochas. Instead, the newly-designed menu emphasizes the Mocha’s more expensive sugary sisters: The Caramel Macchiato and the seasonal Toffee Mocha. You can still order a tall drink via the Starbucks drive-thru. The new menu offers a concession with the lines: “Looking for something else? Please ask us.”
For some reason, this menu change really started to grate on my nerves. So on my lunch break, I went back and snapped some better photos of the menu. I also went inside to inquire about the change. An employee told me the change was made Saturday night. The employee worked the drive-thru Sunday morning and said customers kept asking: “Can I still order a tall drink?” The employee drove around back at the end of the Sunday shift to look at the sign and noticed it was changed.
It has been suggested that Starbucks may have omitted the “tall” size and pricing from the new drive-thru menu to make more room for the photos of the drinks. Indeed, the previous menu did not feature photography of every drink. However, there is plenty of room on this new layout to include one more listing for the small ahem, excuse me, tall size.
I totally support local coffee shops whenever I can. The only reason I go to this Starbucks is because it is the only coffee shop on the way to work. Most weekdays I brew my own coffee at home, but I do splurge on Starbucks at least once a week.
How can I be so worked up over a design change like this when there are wars being fought and oil-soaked beaches to clean up? Well, it just seems shady to me. It seems like Starbucks is trying to encourage people to order bigger drinks, which come with a higher price tag and calorie count. And I don’t think it’s fair for this massive coffee chain to make a change like this without someone pointing it out. So thank you for letting me get this off my chest and off my camera.
I was just contacted by editors at The Consumerist who tell me Starbucks will be altering its menu to include tall sizes again! Since my blog post, the story has received national media attention, including articles from MSNBC, USA Today and ChicagoBreakingNews.com.