Very interesting read. Who’d have thunk it?
Why Starbucks actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses.
The key for independent coffeehouse owners who want to thrive with a Starbucks next-door is that they don’t try to imitate Starbucks. (As many failed coffee chains can attest, there’s no way to beat Starbucks at being Starbucks.) The locally owned cafes that offer their own unique spin on the coffeehouse experience—and, crucially, a quality brew—are the ones that give the Seattle behemoth fits. Serve an appetizing enough cappuccino, and you can even follow Hyman’s lead and take aim at almighty Starbucks, where automated espresso machines now pull consistently middling shots at the touch of a button—no employee craftsmanship required.
5 responses to “Local Coffee Helped by Starbucks”
hmm, i wonder if this applies to tim hortons as well…. i sure can think of a local st. stephen coffee shop that is trying to be tims. not the greatest place on earth.
anyway, the starbucks delocator is useful when in an unfamiliar city. this site is essentially a user-created directory of locally-owned coffee shops.
they have a canadian version (except it seems to be under maintenance right now).
Exactly. It’s like capitalism 101: differentiate your products and services from what is already available. Don’t try to copy Tim’s, look where it got Robin’s!
i like the insinuation:
don’t think too much about the ‘competition,’ just be yourself, it’ll probably turn out better!
and hey, if it doesn’t, then at least you had integrity.
I remember when bucks opened across from the fyxx on broadway and auggie and i were handing out free coffee right in front of its doors to promote our opening. it was a matter of seconds before the feisty fyxx owner came out and tore a strip out of us. i loathed her at the time, but retrospect yields a very different sentiment. Seems to me, based on my last few visits, that the Fyxx is doing just fine.
I’ve been thinking lately about how lame starbucks has become. Their move toward drive-thru stores as well as the automated machines has undermined their identity as a cafe. I mean, what cafe lacks a cafe (new stores have all of five tables), has “baristas” who just push buttons, know little or nothing about coffee, though pretend to, and promote the hit-and-run drive-thru demographic. I think any “cafe” with a drive-thru ceases to be a cafe. Starbucks in all honesty is now little more than the McDonald’s of coffee.
tony: funny, i was thinking back to when you did that too. and yes, the fyxx is an excellent example of a local shop that has differentiated themselves enough from starbucks that they’ve thrived. and 3/4 locations are spitting distance from starbucks.
and yes, exactly, starbucks is committing suicide–at least against it being a proper cafe–by pursuing the drive-thru market. Leave that to tim’s and put in some bloody tables. honestly.