Starbucks Wars: Chain Sets Up Free Coffee Trailer Close to Downtown Pearl Cup (Let's Call it Java the Hut)

Categories: Food News

Starbucks Takeover.jpg
A trailer giving away free coffee, just behind the downtown Pearl Cup
Crystal Johnson noticed business was a little slower than usual this morning, but she didn't think much of it until a customer came in and told her about the Starbucks trailer that was parked on the same block as the downtown coffee shop. The trailer was giving away free coffee on the corner of San Jacanito and North St. Paul streets and potential Pearl Cup customers were all over the java.

Johnson confronted the cart and determined they are permitted to operate at the location, but the move still seems like a cheap shot -- and not the espresso kind.

According to Johnson the truck is still operating into the lunch rush, despite another full service Starbucks location currently operating just down the street. Starbucks recently closed it's downtown location at the Magnolia Hotel, with no plans to reopen that location.

"We are currently working on getting them removed,"Johnson said, pointing a a provision in the city's mobile vendor ordinance that requires the building's management to give permission to vendors that wish to operate directly in front of the building.

Talk about a caffeine buzz kill ... or a brewing battle ... seriously, we got a million of these puns.



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56 comments
hyoomen
hyoomen

This is little more than sub-par investigation and anti-corporate muckraking. What evidence is there to support the implication that Starbucks is attempting to directly siphon away customers from The Pearl Cup? This trailer had been all over downtown -- specifically in promotion of their new 'blonde roast' initiative -- and included Starbucks employees wearing coffee-dispensing backpacks, walking around the DART train platforms.

Independent coffee shop culture, to thrive, will have to succeed based upon its merits and accomplishments; not upon reflexive & blind mistrust of corporate coffee companies.

Not that it should matter, but I'm a longtime customer of tPC (since not long after Carly and Rita opened up), as well as Starbucks (since before it was safe to open an independent coffee shop in the city because there was such saturation and so little coffee culture).

scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator

I'm going to have to draw the line at Instagram commenter stalking, and I've deleted the post with a picture of Megs the Dallas hater. It's obvious she regrets her comment. And in the middle of August, we've all hated on Dallas. 

Let's keep the focus on Starbucks to corporation, not Starbucks the employee. I called their PR people for comment about the trailer, and will keep you guys updated on their response.

Chris Apaliski
Chris Apaliski

I noticed she deleted her posts since then, too. Ha

hardhitter917
hardhitter917

Honestly Starbucks is not doing anything wrong.  I don't get why so much hate? Everyone that got coffee from the mobile cafe was happy from what I saw.  I'm happy that they are giving back to the community, its nice to see that they care about their customers.  One more thing they were not set up near the Pearl Cup they were next to a parking lot.  People need to stop making stuff up...

Coleman Chance
Coleman Chance

"Once again, I hate you Dallas." I wonder how the corporate office will handle something this shitty.

CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

This is predatory pricing.   Disgusting.  I'll vote with my $ and now try even harder to avoid a Starbucks when in need of coffee.

mike.detloff
mike.detloff

Your product must not be that good if you have to set up shop on your competitors doorstep and give it away for free.

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

I don't work at Starbucks, and I'am not a regular customer; in fact, when I go for neighborhood coffee it is to Legal Grounds....that said, give it a rest folks, Starbucks is a tough competitor but they are just parked out front - TEMPORARILY.....if Pearl Cup can't survive a day or two of Starbucks handing out freebies, then their business model is pretty damn shaky......and btw, Legal Grounds competes pretty well with the Starbucks around the corner......

You people should live in a real city for some time of your lives; not the faux sub-urban existence you call Uptown, Lakewood, Bishop Arts, etc....walk the neighborhoods of NYC and see how many coffee shops compete head to head........

EdD.
EdD.

It's time for a brave food truck to park itself right in front of the Oak Lawn location of Starbucks and offer really cheap coffee. Call it the "Meaghan Special".

Coleman Chance
Coleman Chance

This person is a store manager at the Starbucks on Oak Lawn, and she hates Dallas.

Chris Apaliski
Chris Apaliski

Meaghan, I'm not disagreeing with what you're saying here, but let's scale back bitching at the city of Dallas because of this. I happen to like the city. People have the right to support the Pearl Cup or Starbucks (much like you pointed out), but trying to say that people have "nothing better to whine about" and all of the sort categorizing it to Dallas is a) irrelevant to the issue at hand and b) not indicative of the people of this fine city. For the record, both Starbucks and The Pearl Cup are totally acceptable places to purchase coffee with me. I like them both. Business will be business, they're both trying to make money. That's the way it goes, I agree with that totally...but there's no need to paint a whole city as a bunch of assholes because of it.

bealotcoolerifyoudid
bealotcoolerifyoudid

Do you remember a few years ago when Starbucks was closing down a lot of stores that were near their other stores?  Makes you wonder why they even opened the stores in the first place.  Of course, the reason was to prevent competition from leasing near them.  In Starbucks eyes it was better to pay a lease for an underutilized shop, than allow competition to get a foothold near one of their stores.  Today's spat is just entertainment.

But whatever, Starbucks is burnt and I'm not much of a fan of Pearl Cup either. 

Dub919
Dub919

I walked over to Pearl Cup and picked up a coffee before leaving for work.  In retaliation, they were serving free regular drip coffee for the rest of the day.  The girl working the counter did say that they had a few customers who, like me, came in to support Pearl in spite of Starbucks.  So, to those who did...good on you.

williamhelmly
williamhelmly

What BS move!  Competition is good for consumers but not when one does crap like this and then gives it away to hurt another company.  Starbucks should be ashamed with themselves!

Samantha Cavanaugh
Samantha Cavanaugh

Starbucks is the coffee Walmart, in my book. Which means, I'll go if other options are too inconvenient at the time. Of course, nothing beats my freshly ground, French press from home!!

judgedavid
judgedavid

Juvenile, underhanded, and unnecessary.  Pearl Cup should be proud that they're killing Sbux's profit margins!  Remember this, Sbux:  NOBODY likes a bully!

monstruss
monstruss

I'd still rather pay for unburnt coffee at Pearl Cup, thanks. 

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

Fuck Starbucks, those fucking whores.  That really is some bullshit, why wouldnt the city protect the pearl cup from this type invasion.  I got no problem permitting them for this but to do it right outside another coffee shop that is paying good rents to be where they are is bullshit.  And they are giving away FREE coffee, i.e. so sales so no sales tax.  Send that fucker over to the food truck lots.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

Again, another greedy, monopolistic act by Starbucks that only reinforces my reasoning for never stepping inside any of their stores.

CogitoErgoSum
CogitoErgoSum

@hyoomen At the very least, they should check Yelp to see if they're within a block or two of another coffee shop. This would be in their best interest as it would help to avoid PR mishaps like this.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

@hyoomen Sorry, I don't buy that explanation. Starbucks has long been known to be a ruthless and merciless competitor with little or no compassion for independent coffee shops.

So, it doesn't surprise me that this "free coffee" gimmick is nothing but another Starbucks ploy to intimidate the competition.

But, all this isn't what keeps from being one of their sheeples. It's the coffee they serve. It's horrid! And if Starbucks serves the kind of coffee you like, then in my opinion, you deserve them.


CornyDoggy
CornyDoggy

@hyoomen 

That does change things.  You're right.  We were too reactionary.  

mike.detloff
mike.detloff

@CitizenKane "Starbucks has more than 20 locations within an approximate three-mile radius of downtown; besides the outpost in the St. Paul Place building, The Pearl Cup's only other location is the original on Henderson Avenue. (A Richardson location is slated to open this spring.)"

Yeah...Pearl Cup's business model really has the edge.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@CitizenKane key word is compete, and giving shit away free isnt competing, and how do you know they are only going to do this for a few days, what if it becomes a twice a week deal.  anyhow it just corporate shittyness to do that

hyoomen
hyoomen

@bealotcoolerifyoudid Oh? Was that part of their stated business model? Could you backup your assertion with factual evidence?

bskok82
bskok82

@Meaghan Gonser-Confehr - Meaghan, firstly it's a really poor idea posting comments like this from your linked facebook account which lists you as the manager of the Oak Lawn location, and it's unfortunate this little spate will probably cost you your job.

In any event, you are incredibly short sited and your comment vapid if you can't see why this is unethical behavior on the part of starbucks.  As a global corporation, they have the deep pockets to eat the loss of profit from offering free coffee until they are able to put other competing businesses out in the worst of ways.  This is no longer about who makes the best coffee or provides the best service, it's about using your bank account to muscle any competition out of the market until you are the only option.  If you are unable to think in terms of the private owner of pearl cup, who has everything on the line with his/her business being successful facing off against the giant corporation whose profits from one additional store are merely a drop in the bucket, not only are you short sighted but you also seem to be heartless as well.

To me, people upset about this are not "whiners" as you so callously put it, but rather people with a legitimate concern for how business in this city should be conducted.

Dub919
Dub919

So, trolling the neighbors, guerrilla-style, is a "fair practice" in your eyes?  There's competing, then there's being an asshole.  Giving away coffee just outside the door of your competitor's shop, with the ability to make a quick getaway when you get called on your bullshit, is certainly the latter.

williamhelmly
williamhelmly

@Meaghan Gonser-ConfehrThe only reason your backing them is because they sign your paycheck.  Its a BS move!

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

@Samantha Cavanaugh. Starbuck's coffee comes from China?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin The city doesn't need to protect them.  Fight it with free speech (like this), not government force.

Dub919
Dub919

@ScottsMerkin I'm headed over to that Pearl Cup location right now to buy a cup of coffee just to spite Starbucks.

Anna_Merlan
Anna_Merlan

@Meaghan Gonser-Confehr Good god. This is epic. Meaghan appears to have deleted her Facebook and gone deep underground, which is a shame, because I have so many questions. Chief among them: did you not realize so much of your information was visible, and that it would take approximately .5 seconds for everyone to figure out you were a manager at Starbucks? Serious question, dude: how can someone so young be so bad at Facebook? 

Alternately, were you aware that your job info was visible, and you just didn't care, because, like, fuck everybody?

Also, why is your coffee so burnt-tasting all the goddamn time? 

Maybe that's irrelevant. Let's get back to this Facebook issue. Damn, son. 

Grande_D
Grande_D

@Meaghan Gonser-Confehr Starbucks came up with a great concept, and they were rewarded with unprecedented success. Now Starbucks came up with a ruthless, unpopular, arguably anticompetitive practice, and the reward they reap is consumer outrage. You have publicly backed this massively unpopular practice with your real name, and now you too will be incredibly unpopular. I wonder how many harassing phone calls the Oak Lawn Starbucks will be getting.


If Starbucks wants to compete, then they should come up with a better product and not run a temporary, localized campaign targeted at putting a small competitor out of business. 


If others dislike Starbucks' tactic as much as I do, then I would encourage everybody to get a cup of free coffee, dump it out, and then take the empty cup over to Pearl Cup for a refill. 


Meaghan, Dallas doesn't hate you, but we do think your name has a very funny spelling. Also, we're going to prank call you. A lot. 

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

@Meaghan Gonser-Confehr "Once again, I hate you Dallas". Well, you need to find I-95 and get on it all the way back home to NYC!

monstruss
monstruss

@Meaghan Gonser-Confehr Meaghan Gonser-Confehr, Store Manager at the Starbucks at Oak Lawn and Rawlins, says that people who dislike greasy business practices are brats. Oh, and she hates Dallas. Awesome. Good thing there's Oak Lawn Coffee down the street, making better coffee for their neighbors. 

Dub919
Dub919

@Meaghan Gonser-Confehr "Once again, I hate you Dallas."

No one or thing is keeping you here.  So long.

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

@Meaghan Gonser-Confehr ahh hello starbucks manager, now it makes sense why you defend the dickheadish move.  At least when they moved in to compete with starbucks at the fairmont they leased a space and paid the rents and charged for the coffee.  This is just a shitty move, why do you hate dallas

monstruss
monstruss

@Anna_Merlan and despite deleting her facebook, responses to her dipshit comment will live on in infamy. 

Mervis
Mervis

When did I-95 make its way to Dallas?

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@CornyDoggy @everlastingphelps no. But I favor us being smart consumers and telling them "fuck you and your burnt coffee" not calling the cops.

everlastingphelps
everlastingphelps topcommenter

@ScottsMerkin @everlastingphelps yeah, it does. Businesses should succeed or fail based on how WE spend out money, not on the state sticking guns in their face and running them out of town. If Starbucks succeeds at this, it is because WE suck.

Twinwillow
Twinwillow

@Mervis It doesn't. It starts in Florida. And once you get on it, you can take it all the way north via the eastern seaboard.

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