Part 2: Starbucks Research Proposal

This is a brief questionnaire, which aims to explore preferences of New Zealand coffee lovers just like you. Your responses are very valuable to us and will be used to enhance your future experience in Starbucks! We know how precious your time is, therefore this survey will take less than 5 minutes to fill in. You have a week to complete the questionnaire.

Do not worry, your responses are voluntary and will remain confidential. Also, upon the completion of the survey, you will enter a draw to win a $100 Starbucks coupon.

Thank you!


Starbucks has struggled to gain popularity in New Zealand marketplace since its initial launch in 1998. This was caused by a fact that New Zealand already had a sophisticated coffee culture, when the brand entered the market (Adams, 2013). Therefore it is essential for Starbucks to be able to adapt to it in order to gain a competitive advantage and subsequently improve its performance.

Consequently, the purpose of this report is to design a piece of quantitative research that will enable Starbucks to evaluate its current marketing offering and adjust to the local coffee culture. The aim is to receive meaningful responses to obtain a greater insight into the problem. The document contains an overview of the management problem, identification of appropriate research methods and tools, sampling plan and an example of a survey format. What is more, the analysis section will illustrate how the information will be processed and visually presented.


Problem definition

Through the early to mid-2000s a number of Starbucks’ stores was rapidly growing, reaching the peak of 47 in 2007 (Adams, 2013). However, due to the falling sales the following years experienced a gradual decline of outlets with the current count standing at 27 (Restaurant Brands, 2014). The reason that Starbucks failed to gain popularity is that New Zealand already had a sophisticated and strong coffee culture when the chain first launched in 1998 (Adams, 2013) In addition, Jon Bird, chairman of retail marketing specialists at IdeaWorks, said that "There's no great reason for having Starbucks in New Zealand - that kind of American cultural imperialism, when it comes to coffee, just doesn't work in the country" (Adams, 2013). This indicates that New Zealanders have different values and expectations that have to be satisfied. What is more, a lot of consumers withdrew from drinking large milky coffees served by chain stores, and prefer purchasing coffee from independent cafes that roast their own beans (Walters, 2014).

Based on these facts, Starbucks faces certain cultural differences and has to alter its current marketing offering to be able to attract and satisfy New Zealand consumers. As a result Starbucks brand faces the following management problem: "What should Starbucks do in order to increase customer satisfaction in NZ marketplace?”                

In order to solve the given management decision problem and determine how the information can be efficiently obtained the research problem in further stated: "Identify the ways to increase customer satisfaction in New Zealand marketplace."            

The following research objectives will be used to explore the problem:

1. Analyse New Zealanders’ coffee preferences and café culture

2. Assess the current service quality and image of Starbucks in New Zealand

3. Create consumer profiles and identify the most prospectus target markets


Research design 

In order to answer these research objectives it would be beneficial to conduct a conclusive research. The purpose of conclusive research is to provide an accurate representation of the population utilizing an appropriate research tool to gather primary data (Sandhusen, 2008). Conclusive research will also provide information that will aid in reaching conclusions and making of definitive marketing decisions (Sandhusen, 2008). Therefore, it will be possible to utilize the acquired information to develop a new marketing strategy to increase customer satisfaction with Starbucks.

Furthermore, the research will be conducted in a descriptive manner, where the main goal is to give an accurate description the phenomenon at a particular point in time (McDaniel & Gates, 2010). This will subsequently aid in getting a better insight into the issue in regards of the research objectives. The research will be quantitative in its nature and it will map the terrain of Starbucks’s problem using a survey tool.

Sampling Plan 

Next, it is essential to define a population of interest, which is the entire group of people with specific characteristics that is needed to meet the research objectives (McDaniel & Gates, 2010). In the given scenario Starbucks aims to increase customer satisfaction across the entire country, therefore respondents from all geographic regions should be included. In terms of product usage, the research is interested in people, who bought coffee in Starbucks during the last 3 months, so that they can recall their experience. This will require a screening question to be asked prior unveiling a questionnaire.            

Next it is important to consider a sampling frame, which is a list of members of population from which certain individuals are selected for the research (McDaniel & Gates, 2010). Although, there is no database with contact details of all Starbucks customers. Nevertheless, it is possible to use Starbucks New Zealand Facebook page to contact the potential respondents. In this social network website people allocate “stars” and give reviews to their experience in Starbucks on the scale from 1 (the worst experience) to 5 (the best experience). Currently, there are 6210 ratings of the brand. However, this method excludes all the Starbuck’s visitors that did not live a review, which makes this a non-probability sample. Nevertheless, the participants can be divided into exclusive subgroups and then be selected from there, which is referred to as quota sampling to gather a more representative data (McDaniel & Gates, 2010). Since the research is interested in the aspects of Starbucks service improvement, it would be beneficial to ask a bigger percentage of people, who were dissatisfied with a service in a café. Therefore, 90% of people, who gave one and two stars to the café, 50% of those who gave three stars, and 30% and 20% of four and five stars givers, respectively. According to Raosoft sample size calculator the minimum sample size consists of 385 respondents (Raosoft, n.d.).

However, to receive a more representative data it is best to use a bigger sample size. For instance, the sample of a seven hundred respondents will generate a 3.7%margin of error. Considering that this is an online survey, the costs and the processing time would not be hugely affected by the increase of the number of participants. Therefore, it is recommended to survey a greater amount of people, yet reasonable enough in the terms of the available budget. The chosen participants will be sent a message with a link inviting them to complete an on-line survey. It is better to send an invitation in the morning, when people are more energetic and at that time they tend to check their messages and emails.

Otherwise, the judgment sample can be conducted with an intercept survey method utilized. This involves interviewers approaching certain people in order to introduce them to the questionnaire. This is also a non-probability sample, the main strength of which is that the sampled people will not be limited to those, who left an online review. What is more, the interviews can be conducted until the required amount of responses is gathered, and it is possible to gather the same amount of responses from different regions. However, the interviewers should be well trained and experienced in order to avoid bias and subsequent interviewer’s error. The interviews should choose the respondents based on the following criteria: they should either hold a coffee takeaway cup, or heading from a café. They should also pick people of different genders and age to gather a more representative data. To ease to process it is recommended to conduct the interviews in city centers due to a bigger accumulation of various cafes. The interviews would be conducted from 9 am till 6 pm every day, till the required amount of responses is collected. Also, in order to sample the right people, the interviewer should ask a screening question before revealing other questions from the questionnaire. For instance, make sure a respondent has visited Starbucks during the last 3 months. The same sample size applies to this method, although it is more expensive and time consuming due to training and labor costs. Also, more time is required to gather and analyze the data. As one of the most employed quantitative research tools, a survey will allow to gather information on coffee drinking attitudes, identify behavioral attitudes and evaluate the current level of satisfaction and possible improvements for Starbucks. Moreover, the survey research will facilitate obtainment of a larger number of responses and develop a more accurate representation of data in a shorter period of time unlike any other qualitative method (McDaniel & Gates, 2010).

On one hand, if on-line surveying is to be conducted, the entire collection time can be shortened, as all data can be collected and processed in approximately one month period. Respondents will have a week to complete a survey, and this condition will be mentioned in a message with a link to the survey. Furthermore, it was proved that the interaction the questionnaire and the respondent is more dynamic unlike e-mail or paper surveys (Dillman, 2006). The online questionnaire can also be improved with several usability tests, which will measure the how quickly the task can be completed and users’ satisfaction with the interface. This also eliminates an interviewer error by eradicating any conscious or unconscious human bias. However, as an interviewer will not be able to help with the questioner, the survey questions will be short and clear. In addition, pop-up instructions can be designed for each question in order to help respondents where assistance may be required. This approach will also assist in avoiding a respondent error. Lastly, taking into account that the chosen respondents already gave a review of Starbucks, they are likely to be more interested in completing a survey. 

On the other hand, implementation of intercept surveys allows to reach out for people, which could not be contacted through Facebook. The interviews would be conducted on the spot, in order to increase a number of respondents, rather than taking them to a research facility. What is more, the interviewers should be efficient enough to facilitate a face-to-face interaction for no more than 10 minutes. Otherwise a respondent may grow impatient and leave, which is a non-response error. Also, the interviewer should look neat, friendly and encourage people to complete the survey using his or her personality, appearance, voice and body language. These are powerful attributes of a filed research method, which cannot be implemented in online surveys. Also, the interviewer should be knowledgeable of the research topic and questions in order to be able to help with the questions. To motivate the respondents to fill in a survey, the beginning of the questionnaire will explain its purpose and indicate how valuable the entrant’s participation is. It will also state that the results of their survey will affects the further Starbuck’s service quality to make the respondents feel their contribution. Afterwards, the reward incentive will be mentioned, however it should not be too big, otherwise it may alter the responses. The suggested incentive would be a 100$ Starbucks voucher.

The invitation for the online survey could be either sent through Facebook chat, or multiple private posts can be made, tagging the chosen respondents. The message would be as following:

"Hi there!

This is a brief questionnaire, which aims to explore preferences of New Zealand coffee lovers just like you. Your responses are very valuable to us and will be used to enhance your future experience in Starbucks! We know how precious your time is, therefore this survey will take less than 5 minutes to fill in. You have a week to complete the questionnaire.

Do not worry, your responses are voluntary and will remain confidential. Also, upon the completion of the survey, you will enter a draw to win a $100 Starbucks coupon.

Thank you!"

If you would like to continue with the survey visit the following link: [insert link] The interviewer should be able to deliver a similar message to the chosen respondent, only without mentioning a deadline. Lastly, the interviewer should suggest leaving an email address so that the respondent could enter a prize draw and be notified in case he or she wins.                     

Screening question: Did you visit Starbucks during the last 3 months?                    

If “yes” – reveal a survey: “no” – thanks a respondent for his/her time and apologize for disturbing them.

Part 1: New Zealand Coffee culture 


Q.1. How often do you purchase coffee from a cafe in a month?

1. 1-2

2. 3-5

3. 6-10

4. Over 10

Q.2. On the scale from 1 to 5 rates how important for you are the following attributes for picking café to go to:

Q.3. Please, select four favourite drinks out of the following and put them in the order of likability. 

Cappuccino, Flat White, Espresso, Americano, Short Black, Long Black, Latte, Macchiato, Mocha, Frappuccino, Tea, Smoothie






Q.4. What are some of the reasons to go to the café? Circle as many as required.

  • ‍For food and drinks
  •  For chatting with friends
  • Leisure
  • To reinforce social image
  • To work/study
  • Habit
  • For business or meetings
  • To go with family
  • Other (please specify)________________________


Part 2: Your Starbucks Experience

 Q.5. Now think more specifically about your Starbucks experience. How many times a month do you visit Starbucks?

1. 1-2

2. 3-5

3. 6-10

4. Over 10

 Q.6. When you hear “Starbucks” what is the first adjective that comes up to your mind?    



Q. 7. What is the most exceptional feature of Starbucks that differentiate it from other cafes? 

1. Brand name

2. Exceptional service

3. Taste

4. Ambience


Q.8. What are some of the reasons to go to Starbucks? Circle as many as required               

  • ‍For food and drinks
  •  For chatting with friends
  • Leisure
  • To reinforce social image
  • To work/study
  • Habit
  • For business or meetings
  • To go with family
  • Other (please specify)________________________


Q.9. Indicate how much are you satisfied with Starbucks by selecting a face that represents your emotions best in the given respect.

Q.10. To what extend do you agree that Starbucks should improve the following attributes of its café’s?                

Q.11. What is your opinion of the public image of Starbucks?

Part 3: Personal Details (Confidential)


Q.12. What gender are you?

1. Male

2. Female

 Q.13. What age group do you belong to?

 1. 18-24

2. 25-34

3. 35–49

4. 50+

 Q.14. Where do you live?

1. Auckland

2. Wellington

 3. Hamilton

4. Invercargill

5. Napier

6. Nelson

7. New Plymouth

8. Queenstown

9. Christchurch

10. Rotorua

11. Other (please specify)_________________


Analysis of information

After all the responses of the survey are collected, the survey analysing software will process the answers, and transfer the information gathered into a statistical data. However, the initial comprehension, possible analysis and application of data is required. The table below illustrates the type of information gathered, type of its subsequent analysis and matches it with a corresponding research objective.

Cross tabulations 

The following part identifies a few of the key cross tables that would be used in the analysis. What is more, an explanation of the purpose of this investigation is given for each combination of questions.

Sample Reporting

Finally, the following are the examples of data presentation.


It is essential for Starbucks to adapt to the New Zealand environment it in order to regain its competitive advantage and subsequently improve its performance and sales. Therefore, this research aims to explore some behavioral attitudes of New Zealanders towards coffee drinking and compares them to current satisfaction levels and brand perceptions of Starbucks. Therefore, the survey tool proposed will aid to obtain all the necessary information to satisfy the stated research objectives and provide enough data to be able to make definitive decisions about future Starbucks strategy.


Reference list

  • ‍Adams, C. (2013, April 8). Restaurant Brands says it's sticking with Starbucks. The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved from 876161
  • Dillman, D.A. (2006). Mail and Internet Surveys: The Tailored Design Method (2nd ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
  • McDaniel, C., & Gates, R. (2010). Marketing research essentials (7th ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
  • Restaurant Brands. (2014, June 13). Annual Reports. Retrieved from Restaurant Brands Web Site:
  • Raosoft. (n.d.). Sample size calculator. Retrieved from
  • Sandhusen, R. L. (2008). Marketing (4th ed.). New York: Barron's Educational Series, Inc. Walters, L. (2014, March 16). Starbucks aims for a bigger hit. Business Day, Retrieved from bigger-hit.