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GreenlakeStarbucksAnalysis

byDavidMaddenandDanielGlancy

ResearchQuestion
Forourqualitativeresearchproject,westartedwiththegeneralresearchquestionof:
Whatisthe
cultureofcoffeeshops?
Fromtherewenarrowedtheinitialresearchquestiondownevenfurtherby
askingsubquestions:
WhatarethedemographicsofpatronsatCloudCityCoffeeandtheGreenlake
Starbucks?Wheredoindividualsandgroupssitattheseshops?Dogroupsthatarestudyingorworking
choosedifferentseatsthanthosethataresocializing?
Fromourinitialgroupofsix,webrokedowninto
threeteamsoftwo.KateandSarahfocusedonCloudCityCoffee,whileourfocuswasontheGreenlake
Starbucks,andHeatherandCarlyhandledtheonlinecontentanalysisfrombothStarbucksandCloud
City.
Weweredrawntothisparticularresearchsitebecausewebothfrequentcoffeeshopsandare
interestedinhowdifferentpeoplebehaveinpublicenvironments.Wewantedtocompareourfindings
fromalargercorporatestoretoasmaller,lesserknownbusiness.WechosetheGreenlakeStarbucks
becauseitwasinthesamegeneralareaasCloudCityCoffee.Westartedourresearchat11AMonJuly
15th,2015,incoordinationwiththeCloudCityresearchteam.Wedecidedtomeetsomewherewherewe
wereconfidenttherewouldbeenoughfoottraffictomakesignificantobservations.
ResearchandAnalysisMethods
WhenwearrivedattheGreenlakeStarbucks,wewerebothcaughtoffguardbyhowbusythis
locationwasatthattime.Onaverage,therewerethirtypeopleusingthespaceaswellasalineofpeople
waitingtoorder.Attemptingtocollecthardnumbersprovedtobeextremelydifficultduetotherapid
movementofpeopleandconstantchangeofcustomers.Partofthechallengewasduetothetwo
doorwayslocatedatoppositeendsofthestore.Webothdeterminedwewouldhavetogeneralizeabout

specificusageofparticularspacesasopposedtorelyingonhardnumbers.Wewantedtoobservehowthe
spaceinthisStarbuckswasbeingusedbyitspartonswhichwouldhelpusdeterminetheoverallcultureof
thestore.Thestrategyweusedwastobreakthestoredownintosections.Creatingabirdseyesketchof
thestore(Fig3),webrokethebuildingdownintosevendistinctareas:thecomputerareawithoutletsat
everytable,therectangletableinthecenterofthespace(Fig1),thecarpetedareainthecornerwith
fauxleatherloungechairs,theoutsideareaoutsidethestorewithninetwopersontables(Fig2),the
windowseatsfacingoutofthewesternwindow,theroundtablewithseatingforsix,andthechair
areawithfivetwopersontables(Fig4).Doingthisallowedustofocusononeareaatatimeandwe
wereabletocompileobservationsforeachsection.Wefocusedprimarilyonthecustomerswhoactually
usedagivenspaceprovidedbytheStarbucksstoreasopposedtoorderingandleavingimmediately.
Ourcodebookwascreatedbyalldatadrivenobservationsofgender,age,andactivitiesinthe
differentareasofthestore.Westartedbymakinggeneralobservationsaboutthestoreforapproximately
fifteenminutes.Afterabriefconversationwedecidedtofocusonthedifferentactivitiesgoingoninthe
spaceandwedecidedtoignorecustomersthatleftimmediately.Wealsodecidednottoincluderacein
ourobservationssincethestorespatronswerepredominatelycaucasian.Aftercomparingnotes,we
settledonthreecategoriesofsex,tencategoriesofage,andninecategoriesofactivities.Wealsonoted
thedifferentgroupingsofsubjectssuchasfamiliessittingtogetherorcouplestalkingtogether.

Wewereabletoensureinterraterreliabilitybyhavingeachofusconductourownobservations

ofthestoresactivity.Whencomparingfieldnotesandobservationswitheachother,weweresurprised
howmanysimilarobservationswebothnoted.Wealsospenttimeobservingfromdifferentlocations
withinandjustoutsidethestore.

Findings
Thereweremanythemesthatemergedfromourcollectionofdatathatshedlightonourresearch
questionsinvolvingseatingchoiceandactivitiesofthepatrons.Thecomputerareaofthestorewasthe
mostprivateareaduetoalargeshelfofmerchandisedproductsadjacenttotheareawhichblockedfrom
viewthreeofthetables.Thisareawasusedprimarilybysolomaleoccupantsoncomputersandfor
conversationswhichseemedappropriateduetoitslevelofprivacy.Patronswhostayedinthestorethe
longeststayedinthecomputerarea.Onepatron,withamaclaptopandlargeovertheearheadphones,
wastherefortheentiretyofourtwohourfieldresearch.Ingeneral,thosewithlaptopsusuallystayed
longerthanthosewithout.Thewifiwasfreeandfast.Wenoticednoperceptiblebreaksorinterruptionsin
thesignal.LaptopusagewasentirelyinsidethebuildingWeobservednooneusingtheirlaptopsoutside.
Theoutsideofthestorewasmostlyusedforgroupsoftwoormorewhowereinvolvedin
conversation.Thiswaslikelyduetotheshadeprovidedtotheareaonthenicesummerday.Theareawas
alsoquieterthaninsidethebuildingandalloweddogs.Manyofthepatronsweobservedreadingphysical
mediawerealsooutside.Inside,theentiretyofthephysicalmediareadwasnewspapersattheSouthend
ofrectangletableinthecenterofthestore.Thiswaslikelyduetothelargeamountoftablearea
requiredtospreadanewspaperout.UnliketheSouthend,theNorthendofthetablewasrarelyoccupied
forlongperiodsoftime.Patronswouldusethespacetowaitfortheirorderortoeatquicklyandleave.
IndeedmostoftheeatingweobservedwasdoneattheSouthendofthistable.Webelievetherapid
turnoveratthisareaisduetotheintentionaldesignandplacementofthetable.Therectangularshapeof
thetable,withfiveseatsoneachside,madeitsonooneparticulargroupwasfullyoccupyingitatany
time.Thetablewasalsobarheightwhichplacedithigherthantherestofthetablesallowingpatronsto
usethetablewhilestanding.Theseatsweremetal,cushionlessbarseatswithnobacks.Theplacementof

thistableprovidedaphysicalbarrierwhichhelpedkeepcustomersorganizedinaNorthSouthlineforthe
registeralongthetablesEasternedge.
Bycontrast,thecarpetedareaseemeddesignedtopromotealongerstay.Itssquarecarpetand
low,comfortablechairsineachcornermimicaninteriorfoundinlivingrooms.Manyofthepatronswe
observedtobeloungingusedthisarea.Mostoftheseloungingpatronswerealsomenintheirfiftiesor
older.Asidefromlounging,childcarewasalsodonemorefrequentlyinthisarea.Thisislikelydueto
therelativelylargeamountofnegativespaceinthecenterofthecarpetwherestrollerscouldbeeasily
placed.Althoughwedidnotgetahardcountofthenumberofstrollersthatenteredthestore,wenoted
thattherewereovertenthatcamethroughduringthattwohourperiod.
ToquantifythecoffeecultureoftheGreenlakeStarbucks,wefocusedonhowthespacewas
usedbyitscustomers.Weobservedthatthestorewasbothdesignedandengagedbyitscustomersin
threedifferentways:asaquickstopforeatinganddrinkingasseenatthecentertable,asplacefor
customerstoloungeforamoderateamountoftimeasseeninthecarpeted,outside,andchairareas,and
asaplacetousealaptopforanextendedperiodoftimeasseeninthecomputerarea.Themajorityofthe
transactionsweobservedwerecustomerswhoorderedandleftpromptlyafter.Thisbehaviorwas
specificallycateredtowiththedesignandlayoutofthestoreandshowsStarbucksdeliveringaveryfast
foodanddrinkexperienceforthemajorityoftheircustomerswhilestillgivingspacetothosecustomers
whoprefertoloungeorworkoncomputers.
FutureResearch
WhilewehadinitiallyplannedtosynthesizeourresearchwiththeresearchersatCloudCity
coffee,wedidnotusethesamecodebookacrossbothlocations.Thislimitedourabilitytousetheir
researchandviceaversa.Therearestillmanyavenuestoexploreregardingthecoffeecultureofthe
GreenlakeStarbucksastherearestillcountlessquestionsleftunanswered.Whatarethedemographics

whenraceisincluded?Weobservedthatthemajorityofthecustomerswerecaucasianbuthowdoesthat
relatetothedemographicsofthearea?Howmanypeopleexactlycameintooroutofthespaceandwhat
didtheyorder?Howdoesthisdifferthroughouttheday?Howmanypeopleusedthespacecomparedto
howmanyleftimmediately?Howlongdopeoplethatstaystayinthestore?HowdoestheGreenlake
experiencedifferwithotherlocalcoffeeshopsandotherStarbucks?
Ourresearchdescribedthespaceandlabeleditwithsubsectionsandtheirusage.Tocomparethis
locationwithotherStarbuckslocationsandwithlocalcompetingcoffeeshops,ahardcountofthepeople
enteringandexitingandwhattheyorderwouldbeinvaluable.Thequestionsofraceandclasscouldbe
exploredbyincludingamorerobustsetofdemographicanddescriptivedataandwithcontentanalysisof
thefurnishings,menu,andadvertisements.WebothobservedseveralindicatorsthatthisStarbuckswas
specificallytargetingauppermiddleclassaudience:thebathroomswereverycleandespitethebusyness
atthattime,thereweremanyspecialtycoffeesforsalethroughthecloverpresscoffee,therewereseveral
UWitemsforsale,theadvertisingwallconsistedalmostentirelyofadvertisementsfor5ksandfunruns,
andanemployeewaswalkingthroughoutthestoreofferingglutenfreecrackersandcheese.Theclass
dynamicsatthisStarbuckswouldbearichsourceforfutureresearch.

Figure1.FacingNorthalongtheWestsideoftherectangletableonthebottomright.

Figure2.TheoutsideareaandtheSouthdooroftheGreenlakeStarbucks.

Figure3.OverheadsketchoftheGreenlakeStarbucksinSeattleon07/16/15.

Figure4.AnoverheadsketchoftheGreenlakeStarbuckswithsubsectionlabels.

ResearchCodebook
Pink=Sex,Yellow=Age,Green=location,Red=Activities

Code

Description

Male

Perceivedmalegenderfromobserver

Female

Perceivedfemalegenderfromobserver

NonBinaryor
Trans

Apersonperceivedtonottoprojectagenderbinaryorpercieved
tobetranssexual

Baby

Achildyoungerthan2

YoungChild

Achildbetweentheagesof2and4

Child

Achildbetweentheagesof4and12

Teen

Akidbetweentheagesof13and18

20s

Anadultintheir20s

30s

Anadultintheir30s

40s

Anadultintheir40s

50s

Anadultintheir50s

60s

Anadultintheir60s

70+

Anadult70yearsorolder

Computer

ThecomputerareaattheSouthEastcorner

Chair

Theinnerchairareaalongthewesternsideofthebuilding

Outside

Outsidepatioarea

Round

Theroundtablesouthofthewestdoor

Rectangle

ThecentertablethatrunsNorthSouth(nearest
cashier/roasting)

Carpet

ThecarpetedareaintheSouthWestcorner

Window

TheseatingareafacingthewindownorthoftheWestdoor

Phone

Thepersonislookingattheirphone.Unlessotherwisestated,
thisassumesthatthephoneisasmartphoneandthepersonis
nottalkingonit.

Laptop

Thepersonisusingalaptop.

Talking

Thisindicatesthattwoormorepeopleareconversingtogether.

Reading

Thepersonisreadinganewspaper,akindle,orbook

Tablet

Thepersonisusingatablet.

Lounge

Personswhoareloungingmaybedrinkingabeverage,watching
otherpatrons,lookingoutthewindow,lookingatthefloor,or
lookingatthewalls.Sittingisnotarequirementforlounging.

Eating

Thepersoniseatingfood

Childcare

Thepersonisattendingtoachild

Waiting

Thepersoniswaitingfortheirorderorwaitingforthebathroom

DataExample
Thisexampleshowsdatathatweenteredfromourfieldnotes.Thebluehighlightedrowshowsahead
countofthecustomersusingthespaceinthestore.TheGroupID#isusedtoprovidebothauniqueID
foreachdataentryandtoprovideinformationaboutthegroupsthatweresittingtogether.