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Petty controversy: Starbucks' 'sneaky' menu switch
Is the coffee chain pulling one over on drive-through customers by quietly removing its smallest (and cheapest) size option from the menu?
 
Starbucks has changed its drive-through menus, cutting the number of items featured down from about 75 to around 25.
Starbucks has changed its drive-through menus, cutting the number of items featured down from about 75 to around 25.
Corbis

The petty controversy: Newly missing from Starbucks drive-through menus? Any mention of the national coffee chain's smallest (at 12 oz) and cheapest drink size, known as "Tall." The change leaves unsuspecting customers with only two apparent size options: The larger and more expensive Grande (16 oz.) and Venti (20 oz.). Starbucks claims it made the change at customers' requests. "We're not being sneaky," Starbucks spokeswoman Deb Trevino says. "We did it because our customers were frustrated with the difficulty of reading our drive-through menus." She notes that drive-through customers can still order the Tall size.
The reaction
: To some, the change seems like a ploy to jolt sales. "Since when does customer-friendly translate into a watered-down listing of only your higher-priced items?" Allie Townsend says in Time. Starbucks' defense seems disingenuous, concurs Robert Passikoff, founder of Brand Keys consulting company, at USA Today. If the menu was too hard to read, why not made it larger? Simmer down, says Sarah Gilbert at WalletPop. After all, the demographic using the Starbucks drive-through "may not be overly concerned with frugality."

 

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