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Advertising Age reports that when Starbucks closed down all its owned-and-operated stores last month for three hours so that its baristas could be retrained in the art and culture of coffee and get in touch with the company’s roots, it did a less than stellar job of explaining the move to shoppers.

According to a survey quoted by Ad Age, 75 percent of those surveyed knew about the closings, but fewer than half of those questioned knew why the stores had closed down.

Another survey mentioned by Ad Age said that rival Dunkin’ Donuts seemed to have gotten a sales bump from its promotion of discount gourmet coffee drinks during the day Starbucks did its retraining, though other surveys suggest that there was only a minimal benefit to the competition.

KC's View:
I was impressed when Starbucks decided to close down its stores and doing the retraining, but I have to say that this kind of awareness is singularly unimpressive. Getting employees in touch with the company’s roots is only part of the equation…where I’m from, you have to squeeze every bit of promotional juice out of the event.

At the same time, Starbucks needs to be running events that will bring more people into its stores to try new and existing beverages. That may be tough at a time when $4 for a latte seems steep…but the company can’t really afford to wait for the flush times that eventually will come.