Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Starbucks, the Migrant Hire, and Germany

Over the weekend, as part of the Trump-slam on the six countries banned from the visa process....Starbuck's CEO (Howard Schultz) came out and said that Starbucks would hire 10,000 migrants/immigrants over the next three years.  It was a PR-type message and got page one attention (even I will admit that).

How this will work?  Well....Starbucks has 24,000 shops in seventy countries.    So, they've got a widespread map.

Back in 2002, Starbucks opened the first shop in Germany (in Berlin).  Two years ago (2014), Starbucks was noted having 163 shops.  Today, I'd guess they are near 180 shops....although a handful over the past two years have shut down (poorly envisioned location is typically the blame).

One might take a guess that with a large footprint across Germany, and with a large population of unemployed migrants/immigrants....Germany might be taking over a thousand of these 10,000 target migrant-jobs.

The issues?  Well, it's an interesting thing.  To be a Starbucks barista.....you typically are talking about a part-time job.  This means roughly 9-Euro an hour, or a 812-Euro a month pay situation.

On a practical list of job situations that appeal to some migrant....this pay deal won't work. Maybe if you lined up a part-time McDonalds job, a part-time Starbucks barista job, and a part-time clean-up job at the local mall....then you might clear the 2,000 Euro a month point.  It's not much of a career or positive economic story.

For the unqualified migrant who convinced the German BaMF folks to give him a visa but he doesn't show much for a future craft or training program?  Well....it makes sense.  You can train the guy in eight hours to make gourmet coffee and then hope that he shows all the positive attitude values that you tend to expect out of Starbuck's employees.

Where this will start to go wrong?  I can imagine some shop boss hiring six to eight Middle-Eastern guys over a six-month period, and their male chauvinistic attitude starts to dampen the German ladies working at the shop, and you start to see certain employees up and quit.  Then you as the boss, try to have a pep talk and convey that you can't behave this way or you need to mature-up and act like adults.  A month later, you as the boss start to realize the pep talk didn't work, and in fact....some customers are detecting the ongoing behavior as unacceptable, thus refusing to buy their coffee there.

I do agree, you can find some migrants with a positive attitude and highly enthusiastic about their new land, and all the wonders of the commercial world....to include highly-priced Starbuck's coffee.  But these individuals will be the ones who get picked up for 10-Euro or 12-Euro type jobs, and quickly move on.  The Starbucks low-salary structure won't be this great enticement.

My humble guess is that along about 2020....this page on the Starbucks company web site hyping up the program, will be removed, and this program will be considered a less-than-great success.  For some Starbuck's operations in Germany....it might help them advance quicker to closure than anything else.  The ladies who quit and move on?  It wouldn't surprise me if they figured out the coffee game and some new innovative coffee houses open in Germany out of this mess.

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