Starbucks are next door!

kc1

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Aug 26, 2006
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I run a chain of upmarket outlets in London (OK only two at the moment!). Starbucks are immediately next door to us in our newest location and we are struggling to sell coffee. We do about 8% of sales on coffee at our other site (our core products are sushi, smoothies & wraps) but at this site we barely do 3%. Coffee is of course important to us as it is our highest margin product. Our coffee quality is v high (well I think it is) though we go for a slightly darker roast than Starbucks, training is good, service v friendly, our prices slightly lower than theirs, branded coffee cups and we do a loyalty scheme. We've done sampling and flyers and we still can't get people to change their routine. Any suggestions? Has anyone else been in this position?
 

Fresh Roaster

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Jun 30, 2006
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Well if you'd like a layperson's opinion, there are a couple of factors to consider. We have clients that compete succesfully against Starbuck's. We actually encourage opening near them because we like the comparison to be made and next thing you know you're looking at a nice little pre-installed customer base that is more easily converted than you'd think.

First is this... Darker than Starbuck's? WOW. That's pretty dark. The only reason they roast so dark is to burn out inconsistencies versus creating a distinct flavor. People just got used to it. That's why a lot of people don't like it. Especially with the milk drinks. You might try a lighter roast and less extraction for those folks. Even those folks that become accustomed to the "charbucks" can be converted though.

Second, is freshness. Starbuck's struggles here in the Bay area because of Peete's. Why? Peete's is fresh and just about anyone will tell you it just tastes better. Unless you're roasting in the store or supplied daily with something you KNOW is fresh, you really don't have much of a leg up on them. But if you're fresher, you're better. Starbuck's provides a lot of perks and a "culture" but one thing even those perks can't win over is freshness both in customer perception and taste. Just my two cents. Good luck with it!
 
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kc1

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Aug 26, 2006
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Thanks Fresh Roaster. We took on board your comments and have switched to a lighter roast of the same beans. We're going to keep the existing extraction. Too early to say if it will make a difference but at least if the extraction runs a bit long (we use separate grinders and trad machines), then the coffee will still be drinkable!
 

dadesign

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Oct 7, 2006
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TX,USA - UK - ASIA
well lets say...for an example....

A DOME coffee house compare to Starbucks... (where I am)

1. Most ppl like me would go to Starbucks for a HOTSPOT (WIFI) and have a cup of coffee. If I am alone or with a friend.

If I were with a group, perhaps I would go to Coffee Bean.
Well, I think good desserts make a excellent choice of "foodie" attraction that complements along with coffee.

I don't see much nice desserts, when I have my coffee. (well, that is my own opinion)

a. The Coffee
b.The impression is their price for drinks & food caters to Students, white collar workers & etc.
c. the environment makes the contributing important attraction.

So these are a few main reasons.

Cheers.

Best wishes to your business.
Enjoy your weekend.

Interior architect
 

Alex_chef2000

New member
Nov 13, 2005
6
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Querétaro, Mexico
Hi there, we have right nos the same problem with a mexican franchise, they isntalled another coffee house just in front of us.

We have the best coffee in this town, but anyway, their image, decoration and many young customers can bother us.

So we are trying to make some changes in our image, we are putting more plants and flowers to decorate our coffee house.

Our sales remain the same, but we prefer to make all the possible changes before we notice less sales.

I think that you can figh with *$, you can offer better products and better service too. The price is always an important factor.

On the long run you will success.



Best wishes,



Alex.:
 

quarfish

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Nov 15, 2006
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Denver, Colorado
Don't know if it's too late or creates any comfort but with the recent news that Starbucks is planniing on doubling their size, maybe that's good news for all the cottage industry folks.
 
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kc1

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We're going to shift to Fairtrade beans from Feb and run some full on marketing around this. We can't go down the "fresher" route as it's simply not practical so the fairtrade route is a way we can differentiate with only a marginal increase in cost. We would be the only "high street" London retailer offering an all fairtrade coffee range and this has got to shift some people across to us for a comparable quality product.
 
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