If Starbucks Opened Across the Street From My Cafe, I’d…

There’s a very interesting dialogue going on over at Focus.com this week, generating input from diverse professionals from different industries, all providing their insights to this question:

You own a popular local coffee shop and Starbucks moves in across the street. What do you do to compete?

Link to Focus.com article.

Answers have been across the board, mostly coming from business professionals who don’t operate cafes. Here is the one that seems the most popular, by Brian Phelps (Lead Designer at Focus.com):

If I owned a local coffee shop and the very dangerous neighbor called Starbucks moved in, I would be very nervous of my businesses future. I would focus on customer retention. Keep winning the customers you already have and ensure that they don’t make the switch. Remarkable customer service is part of this. I go to local coffee shops because you get a different type of service than from big chain companies. You could also implement customer loyalty programs, such as “buy 10 cups of coffee and the 11th is on us”.

Another reason customers will choose a local coffee shop over Starbucks, is quality. Here in San Francisco, Philz and Blue Bottle Coffee are two companies that provide a substantially superior cup of coffee to that of Starbucks.

We’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic here – and if you have real-world experience with a major chain moving in across from your store, we’d like to hear your stories.

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Categories: Operator Solutions


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