Don’t Carve Out My Latte

When the Autumn months approach, coffee enthusiasts have one single beverage on their minds: the Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbuck’s.  Recently, various Starbucks locations have been experiencing shortages of the specialty latte.  The shortage has caused irritation with numerous customers who are absolutely infatuated with the drink.

The shortage arose because the individual Starbucks stores are running out of the special powder that is used to make the drinks.  According to the Starbucks headquarters, there is no shortage of the actual powder; the problem stems from infrequent deliveries to various locations.   Baristas at some locations have commented that on numerous occasions, customers have left the stores without purchasing anything solely because they could not have their pumpkin spice latte.

While I personally have no interest in Pumpkin Spice Latte, I find it interesting that an article solely based on the seasonal drink found its way into the Wall Street Journal.  I considered the various topics we have covered in class and saw some parallels between the problems Starbucks is experiencing with the subject of forecasting.

Because the Pumpkin Spice Latte is only a seasonal product, I imagine it would be difficult for Starbucks to forecast the demand for their Latte by the public.  The only information they would have is from the previous year’s latte sales.  While this could be somewhat effective in making a forecast,  there are other numerous factors that would prevent them from making an effective.

I can only speculate, but I imagine that social media has played a large role in the increased demand for the Pumpkin Spice Latte. I have personally seen numerous posts on my Twitter and Facebook news feeds dedicated to the “love” for the latte.  I assume that most people can attest to that.

Individual Starbucks rely on the supply from the national headquarters, and if they have to turn down customers due to a shortage, they are losing money.  The difficulty in forecasting for the pumpkin spice latte is having a direct effect on Starbucks locations all over the country and frustrating shop owners and customers alike.