NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Something is brewing at Starbucks (SBUX) that has nothing to do with mobile payment. In fact, what's happening harkens back to simpler times when folks expressed themselves with their natural talents. Yes, there is a secret underworld to Starbucks that is active from sunup to sundown right inside the stores, and on Facebook (FB), Twitter (TWTR), and Instagram. Don't you feel upset that you don't even realize this legal activity is going down right in front of your eyes?
Here are three things that make up this Starbucks underworld...
- The Starbucks secret drink menu has exploded onto the social media scene this year. I know you are scared to order a drink off this menu, fearing a barista will laugh at you, and not make the drink. Total line shame. However, be advised, there IS a drink off this secret menu called "The Cold Buster", which is a tea pumped up on cold fighting ingredients.
- Starbucks "cup art" has taken off, with pictures filling up dedicated sections on Tumblr and Pinterest, and to a lesser extent in various tweets. Cup art is when a person draws serious art on a white Starbucks cup using a black or colored marker. Can't do that at Dunkin Brands' (DNKN) Dunkin Donuts with its dark colored cups!
- One up and coming trend in the Starbucks underground is "tip jar art", where baristas add some flare to the jars found at the counter and next to the drive-thru windows. Employees hold contests in store to see who comes up with the best design. Talk about bonding exercises!
I expect a secret food menu to emerge on the scene shortly. Starbucks is unveiling all sorts of new food items, and no doubt there are self-created chefs dying to mix these pre-packed goods up a bit. Winner of this underground scene is obviously Starbucks. Teams are bonding in the hopes of selling more. Consumers are taking photos of their art and sharing it on social media.
-- By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet.