Interesting to read that Starbucks is closing down the majority of its Australian outlets. The store cites low take-up by Aussies as the reason for pulling the pin. Beyond coffee snobbery, there are some pretty obvious reasons why most people saw this coming.
If you look at the demographics of Australia there are 235 ethnicities in the country. Given the size of the population it becomes apparent that Australia is a very varied and cosmopolitan country. It is used to tastes and habits of many cultures – the true Italian coffee experience is one of these. Most people agree that Starbucks delivers a homogenised (both literally and figuratively) and sanitised version of cafe society. That’s fine in a nation that doesn’t know much better (or where the majority doesn’t anyway) but in a country with an understanding of the nuances of varied cultures – a chain like Starbucks misses the most important of traits: authenticity.
If one looks at who does well in the coffee industry, it is generally the small chains, built and grown with passion – passion for coffee as a product and coffee as a symbol for a way of life. Starbucks is to that passion as McDonalds is to the slow food movement – anathema.
Meanwhile we in New Zealand still have Starbucks, I however will remain firmly planted in family owned and run C4 Coffee.