competition within a block

Mary H

New member
Oct 23, 2006
5
0
madison, wi area
I am planning a coffee shop next to a college town of about 300,000 not including one of the suburbs in which I live. I just found out that the coffee vendor I planned to use has licensed someone who just signed a lease about a block away. Does anyone have any thoughts or ideas to help me out at this point? I'm due to open in mid-December.
Mary H
 

demetri

New member
Jul 18, 2006
175
0
Winnipeg, MB
Back in my university days an economics professor had commented that restaurant industry was the only industry where competitors could sell the exact same product for completely different prices based on "atmosphere" and presentation.

My parents and many of their friends had restaurants and mostly used the same suppliers (not much choice in small towns) and it hurt no one serving the exact same chicken nuggets or noodles. I wouldn’t see this as a determent as I think most people pick their coffee shops based on atmosphere, service, and perception of quality.

Here in town the perception is that Tim Horton’s offers the best cup of coffee. I was in a local food court on Saturday and Sunday where there is a Tim Horton’s franchise besides a star bucks. There were 10 times as many people lined up at the Tim Horton’s as at the Starbucks.

I’m not suggesting that either one of these products is going to be vastly superior to what is out there at local coffee shops but the experience for people is comfortable and familiar and the coffee is better than what most people have at work or at home. Plus for most people in my town the perception is that Tim’s is not only better but cheaper than that fancy stuff at Starbucks.

I think your customers won’t really be able to tell if the coffee is from the same vendor. They’ll base their perception on how good the coffee is based on how they feel when they come into your shop. Regardless having a competitor close by only creates more awareness for both of you.
 

topher

Super Moderator
Staff member
Aug 14, 2003
3,724
11
Boca Raton
to add on to what Demetri said...make sure you prepare the drinks right and they will return!
 

NW JAVA

New member
Get a better coffe, better traning in the correct espresso procedure, get a great machine, get a comfortable inviting decor, have baristas, that are competent and confident and know as much about customer service as they do abot making drinks. Know how to test each barista for finding the grind, steaming the milk, combining flavors, and KNOW HOW TO DO EVERYTHING you expect your staff to do. Also maybe lookinto direct mail coupons for your grand oipening, also contact your local and school papaer about your bhuisness, try to partner with the community and the students. that's my .02. Post me private if you want to know any more about my buisness, and how I stay in buisness in the Great Lasnd of COFFEE wars-WA.
 

Coffee Guy

New member
Oct 19, 2003
874
0
Seattle,Washington USA
Hey NWJ:

I don't want to be picky or anything...But I think you need a little sleep...with all the typos :wink: In any case, I agree for the most part. Make sure that everyone is fully trained, including the owner. That is usually one of the first things a new customer notices about your business. If they are coming into your location for the first time, you can be sure they are checking you out to see if you are worth a second visit. And if you are on your "A" Game, they will be back. But if not, they will just go back to their normal stop.

Tell me Mary H, how do you feel about this roaster (vendor) that is leasing that location just about a block away? Did you know that before you secured your location or visa versa? You might want to look into getting another roaster. Just a thought.
 

morrisn

New member
Mar 27, 2006
126
0
I would definately look for a new roaster. If he has commited to you and then opened up another guy a block away he does not deserve your business. I would expect support from my roaster to help me grow and I also would want to be different from my competition. While I agree that the preparation of the drinks is very important your coffee is at the key to a coffee house, we are always educating our customers on how our coffee is different and why we feel it is the best. Having the same coffee is not comparable with using the same food items, food you develop with your own reciepes, your coffee is what it is.
 

demetri

New member
Jul 18, 2006
175
0
Winnipeg, MB
morrisn said:
Having the same coffee is not comparable with using the same food items, food you develop with your own reciepes, your coffee is what it is.

A lot of food in a lot of restaurants comes in a bag or a box. There's not much recipe involved with a box of nuggets, frozen marinated chicken breast, or prepackaged sauces and soups.

Come to think of it I see the same food in most of the coffee shops in my city. There’s a commercial baker in town, Gunn’s bakery, that seems to supply a lot of places with their tasty treats.

I think having your own recipes and presentation will take a restaurant from being average to being good but if you specialty isn’t chicken or soup and you just need stuff to fill out your menu then you order some pre-made stuff from a supplier.
 
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