Star Bucks ignorance to adapt to the local market
A commenter chipped in with his vision (if seven words constitutes vision 😉 ) saying;
Could just be the Coffee is crap….
No no no.
I’ve had a slight involvement in the coffee industry for awhile now. I was one of the (admittedly minor) partners in C1 Espresso, a Christchurch cafe opened in 1996. Back then there was very little coffee culture in Christchurch and we attempted to bring the Havana vibe to the Mainland.
Since then I’ve been something of an informal adviser to one of my co-founders who went on to found C4 Coffee, arguable Christchurch’s best coffee roaster (whatever that means).
I routinely have the argument regarding the ability or otherwise of the New Zealand consumer to really differentiate between a good coffee and a crap one.
My viewpoint is thus – Starbucks is suffering in New Zealand almost entirely because of a perceived lack of quality. Their funky menu (mint soy caramel frappe anyone?), their cookie cutter store layout and their obvious American franchise all result in a perception that their coffee is crap.
How many times have we heard people say they wouldn’t drink at Starbucks because the coffee tastes like s&$t? The fact is that I contend that the vast majority of New Zealand coffee drinkers, when faced with a blind tasting, would not be able to differentiate a starbucks ristretto from a ristretto drawn from “quality” beans by a quality barista on a well maintained machine.
It all comes down to brand – exclusivity, the ellusive “cool” factor, some edgy tunes and a generally rude and dreadlocked barista all give the customer a perception of quality.
I’m guilty as well – I’ve been into provincial towns in New Zealand, walked into a “coffee shop” seen a coffee machine in between the 4litre packs of oil and the sunscreen and run a mile – but that dash was purely based on perception – not on any actuality.
Right – ready for a lashing from the coffee geeks. Anyone keen to arrange a double blind coffee test?