Starbucks Coffee Company kicked-off its three-day Global Leadership Conference in Houston, where the company will inspire nearly 10,000 store managers by investing in their development, connecting them with the company’s core values, and motivating them to deliver against Starbucks business aspirations.

Conference highlights include:

  • Starbucks chairman, president, and CEO Howard Schultz and Square founder and CEO Jack Dorsey announced that customers will be able to use Square Wallet to pay with their mobile phones at U.S. Starbucks stores beginning in early November. Customers will also be able to use the Square directory to find more than 7,000 U.S. company-operated Starbucks stores.
  • Starbucks also announced it will enable digital tipping on its existing mobile payment applications and on Square Wallet for its U.S. store partners (employees) in summer 2013.
  • As a further testament to the company’s innovation in mobile payment, the Starbucks mobile application is now integrated with Apple’s Passbook, allowing customers’ Starbucks Cards to appear on their iPhone screen automatically after they enter a favorite Starbucks store.
  • The company announced plans to introduce its rare and exotic Starbucks Reserve coffee line using its patented Clover Brewing system to approximately 200 additional locations in the U.S. and Canada. Global expansion into key international markets, including Japan and the U.K., is also expected.
  • Announced the San Francisco Evolution Fresh store will be opening for business in mid-October; the next Evolution Fresh location is coming to University Village shopping center in Seattle in mid-November.
  • A nearly 400,000-square-foot immersive “Leaders’ Lab” has been constructed that will guide conference participants through a two-hour interactive journey that brings Starbucks mission statement to life by highlighting coffee, customers, and community.
  • By the close of the conference, Starbucks expects to have contributed $22 million in economic and community service impact to Houston, including the largest single corporate community volunteer project in the city’s recent history.
  • The company celebrated the opening of its third profit-sharing Community Store in Houston in collaboration with the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA).

“Building an enduring company requires making a sustained investment in its people,” Schultz said at the Houston conference. “In the 42-year history of the company, there has never been a more important or exciting time for Starbucks.

“Four years ago I addressed our first global leadership conference in New Orleans, and we emerged from those meetings energized and poised for our next wave of growth,” he continued. “Today, Starbucks stands as a stronger, more innovative and relevant company, largely due to the bet we made on our partners in New Orleans. These next few days will give our leaders the opportunity to reconnect with the heart of our company through community engagement, refining our coffee expertise, and perfecting the art of exceeding our customers’ expectations.”

Nearly 10,000 of the company’s store managers and regional leaders from outside the U.S. traveled to Houston for three days of inspiration, instruction, and interaction.

Starbucks has branded the conference with the theme “Lead” to reinforce the critical leadership role these store managers—many of whom are running the equivalent of small businesses generating more than $1 million in annual sales—play in the company’s success.

As the fourth-largest city and fourth designated green coffee port in the U.S., as well as an important gateway to Latin America, Houston’s rich diversity and deep community roots make this an ideal location to bring Starbucks retail leaders together.

Starbucks has 228 company-operated and licensed stores in Greater Houston, where it employs more than 2,500 partners. The company’s first store in Houston opened in 1994. 

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