Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rubinfeld is back

Arthur Rubinfeld is back at Starbucks after a few year soujourn that saw him take over the helm of chief development officer at Potbelly Sandwich Works. His new position: president of global development. That's a big deal! Arthur took Starbucks from about a 100 stores to thousands. He's been here before and he's a winner. It sounds like Starbucks is getting the old band back together.

I would have loved to have heard that conversation. "Hey Arthur...seriously...we're going into hyper drive here - Int'l is going to save the day - you're our 'main man' once again...come on back - won't you please?". I'm not sure Howard was begging, but either way, it's a great move. It just rings of another all-star, 'Howard is righting the ship quick-fast' kind of move.

Side note: Potbelly. What's the deal here? Here's one of the all-star "up and comers" that has significant Starbucks money and executives behind it - ala Arthur Rubinfeld. Does this most recent move mean Mr. Rubinfeld merely set the blue print in motion for Potbelly to grow accordingly, or is the "Potbelly thing" just not that exciting anymore? Perhaps too slow of growth for the likes of hyper growth Rubinfeld? Perhaps Potbelly - with operating margins north of 20% in some stores - and mirroring Starbucks like returns in terms of profit generation selling SANDWICHES - isn't able to grow that model across the country like you might be able to if you were, say, selling a drug like caffeine. Just a notion. I'm not sure.

I do know that in Potbelly's backyard of Ohio, USA, their growth was er...slower than anticipated or, more precisely, hoped for. Stores in the Columbus area were not growing at the spectacular rates seen in Chicago or D.C. And stores in Dayton weren't pulling their "Potbelly Star Power" either.

I sure wish Potbelly would grow some legs enough to move out west! Look for California stores in '08? Perhaps '09?

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Frantic Foodie said...

nice to meet your blog!

Jamie R.S said...

Thanks Frantic Foodie - I look forward to reading more of your's as well - cheers. jamie