Why are coffee/donut chains making more money than whole roast shops

Coffcan

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Dec 20, 2016
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Barrie
Up north here in Ontario, it's Tim Hortons. They always use, and even sell their own brand of pre ground coffee. There's also a decent sized
lineup in store or in the drive thru, during rush hour. They're making money hand over fist with the selling of their sandwiches, baked goods
and coffee.

The very same thing is going on with Dunkin' Donuts and other large chains, just south of me, I'm sure.

Why are these large chains, supposedly selling inferior coffee to customers, doing as well as they are when I'm hearing whole bean coffee
is a lot better than the pre ground coffees? Is it commercialism, brainwashing?

I think there may be two roast shops in my City. And I may be exaggerating here, but I'd say there are at least ten or more Tims in our city.
 

DLRuth

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Dec 21, 2016
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I would guess that speed and price are the two main factors making them so successful. But I'm sure there are other factors that lead to it as well.
 
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Coffcan

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I would guess that speed and price are the two main factors making them so successful. But I'm sure there are other factors that lead to it as well.

I agree that speed and price do factor in. I'd never bought fresh whole bean coffee, and am not sure whether it's more expensive than a tin of a big chain's fine grind or not.

I understand it's an impossibility for most people when at work, to start making fresh coffee anywhere or anytime. Would someone who loves fresh whole bean coffee that much, just bypass their local big chain, waiting to get home to make their favorite whole bean brew?
 

coffee771

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Dec 29, 2016
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Texas
It basically boils down to convenience and prices. People will settle for subpar coffee if the price is low enough. It could also be the lack of information that people are reading. Before I got into the espresso world, I was unaware of how coffee was processed and how that impacted the overall flavor.
 
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Coffcan

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It basically boils down to convenience and prices. People will settle for subpar coffee if the price is low enough. It could also be the lack of information that people are reading. Before I got into the espresso world, I was unaware of how coffee was processed and how that impacted the overall flavor.

I agree. We see a lot more big chains while driving down the road, unlike the odd coffee shop/roaster we'll find on some street, with only one or two locations.
Most people want their food or drink, given to them in a short amount of time. I lived like this for years, so it wasn't "Let's go to the roaster or coffee shop on
so and so street". It's more like "Let's stop at Tim Hortons since it would be a lot closer and there seems to be one every couple of blocks or so. lol

My whole life, 44 years of it, we drank mostly instant like Taster's Choice, brewed pot coffee like Folgers or when out, Tims ( Canada's Dunkin'). I'd only recently heard
of some of these manual coffee makers like the French press, Chemex and so on. Although my Aunt and Uncle have an Espresso maker. They have a Breville.

I lived in an Italian area, just north of Toronto, back in the 80's and 90's. They had a good couple of restaurants where you could grab a veal sandwich, cappucino
or espresso. I tried the espresso once when living there and it was very strong! I'd also recently tried McDonald's McCafe espresso, and it tasted like I was drinking
ashes out of an ashtray! That bad!

Thank you, Robin! :)
 
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Kudzu

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Dec 5, 2014
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Pawleys Island, SC
It seems to me the large chain donut shops and small specialty coffee shops appeal to, and target, different markets. The bigs occupy high-traffic, high-visibility locations where they pull in a large volume of vehicular traffic. A high percentage of their customers are only interested in grabbing an order to go and moving on. The small specialty coffee shops are situated in smaller, less-conspicuous locations, dependent more on local pedestrian traffic. Their customers are more likely to appreciate better quality coffee, and more sophisticated coffee drinks, and be inclined to linger and enjoy their purchases in the shop. Though both sell coffee, the two business models have little in common.
 
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Coffcan

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It seems to me the large chain donut shops and small specialty coffee shops appeal to, and target, different markets. The bigs occupy high-traffic, high-visibility locations where they pull in a large volume of vehicular traffic. A high percentage of their customers are only interested in grabbing an order to go and moving on. The small specialty coffee shops are situated in smaller, less-conspicuous locations, dependent more on local pedestrian traffic. Their customers are more likely to appreciate better quality coffee, and more sophisticated coffee drinks, and be inclined to linger and enjoy their purchases in the shop. Though both sell coffee, the two business models have little in common.

I'd noticed this as well. The large chains pull a lot more people in the populated urban areas. People will sit in their cars in the lineup, waiting for that coffee, donut or breakfast sandwich. I recall one time I saw a guy honk his horn in a drive thru lineup, probably impatient or in a rush to get his coffee. Ridiculous.


Commercialism also plays a big part for the large chains as well. How many times will we see a Tim Hortons or Dunkin' Donuts commercial. It's not called "programming" for nothin'.

Coffee shops are around, although people have to want to look up a place. The small coffee shop on X street won't have the money to advertise on TV. Whereas for instance, I have two Tim Hortons coffee and bake shops along my own street, in Barrie Ontario, the coffee shop on Dunlop St that may serve some real good specialty and regular coffee, will not pull in as much of the community/ or visitors.
 
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