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The Next Act
Howard Schultz is no longer running the day-to-day of Starbucks as CEO, but his influence as executive chairman will perhaps be felt even more as the coffee powerhouse further develops its signature technology and high-end branding in 2018.
Known for: Under Schultz’s leadership, Starbucks has adeptly used technology to build business, despite some hiccups. While the company said mobile ordering slowed service early in 2017, by the year’s end Starbucks’ Reward membership rose 11 percent, with per member spend increasing 8 percent in the fourth quarter alone.
Power move: Starbucks is growing its high-end Reserve and Roastery brands, a pet projects of Schultz’s, particularly in China. The company set up growth by acquiring full control over operations in the country.
What’s next: Starbucks will continue to refine its technology, but don’t expect it to take the place of human hospitality, Schultz told CNBC in December. Also expect menu innovation ranging from premium coffee to more whimsical offers like the Instagram-ready Unicorn Frappuccino.