Top takeaways from Starbucks 2023 Annual Meeting of Shareholders

Scenic view of sunrise over Hacienda Alsacia coffee farm

Laxman Narasimhan hosts his first Annual Meeting of Shareholders

On his fourth day as Starbucks chief executive officer, Laxman Narasimhan hosted the company’s 31st Annual Meeting of Shareholders virtually. Together with the Starbucks Board of Directors, leadership team and green apron partners (employees) from around the world, Narasimhan shared what he learned throughout his immersion journey, including what it means to wear the green apron. And, importantly, he also also shared how these immersion observations will shape the future of Starbucks. 

New ceo shares vision for a ‘limitless’ Starbucks 

Narasimhan shared his bold vision for the refounding of Starbucks, which he reiterated in a letter shared directly with partners to mark the occasion. 

“We have limitless potential, but we need to address what limits us,” said Narasimhan. “Our performance is strong, but our health needs to be stronger. We strive to be a different kind of company, and that is unchanged. But we now operate in a different kind of world.”

Leaders define what limitless means to them 

Throughout Narasimhan’s immersion, he worked closely with the leadership team to define the limitless opportunities ahead for Starbucks.  

Brady Brewer, executive vice president, chief marketing officer & Rachel Ruggeri, executive vice president and chief financial officer
Michael Conway, group president, International and Channel Development
AJ Jones II, executive vice president and chief communications officer, Public Affairs
Brady Brewer, executive vice president, chief marketing officer

Starbucks leadership emphasized the importance of the company using its scale for good, being open-minded to new ways of doing business, continuing to innovate the partner experience and uplifting communities around the world. 

Addressing what limits us 

Starbucks shared that with the reinvention plan underway comes a continued investment in partner wages and store operations, and leadership will continue to directly engage with retail partners for guidance. Narasimhan shared that to keep closely connected to the culture and customers, as well as the challenges and opportunities within retail stores, he plans to work in stores for a half day each month and expects his leadership team will stay closely connected to the frontline experience as well. “This is just the beginning,” he said.

Starbucks announced over $1 billion in investments in the overall partner experience. That's shown up with the introduction of new benefits and with increases in pay.

Sara Kelly, executive vice president and chief partner officer
Michelle Burns, executive vice president of Global Coffee, Tea and Cocoa

From the beginning, Starbucks has always believed the partner experience is foundational to the success of the company. This past fiscal year alone Starbucks invested more than $1 billion in wages and training, bringing the average hourly pay at Starbucks to nearly $17.50/hour nationally and with a range of $15-23/hour. Factoring in the value of Starbucks benefits – rated number one by Aon – that number can rise to up to $10 (making it nearly $27.50/hour), if our partners participate in all of our benefits. In addition, as a part of the reinvention plan, Starbucks recently completed the rollout of credit/debit tipping across all eligible stores, giving customers more ways to show their appreciation to partners. 

Partner benefit enhancements mentioned in the last year include the renewal of the Coffee Masters program and the Origin Experience to deepen partners’ connection to coffee. 

Human connection remains core to Starbucks    

In his letter today, Narasimhan wrote, “Through my immersion, Howard, the leadership team and I have spent a significant amount of time discussing the universal need for human connection – something Starbucks is uniquely positioned to deliver – in a world full of isolation, loneliness and social exclusion. Together, we have acknowledged the opportunity for a refounding of Starbucks – to nurture the limitless possibilities for our partners, our customers, our communities, our farmers, our earth, and our shareholders by prioritizing human connection over every cup of coffee."