Why Starbucks Doesn’t Kill Mom/Pop Cafes

At least not for the first few years.
The secret is because Starbucks doesn’t compete on price – they compete on [the third] place.

Starbucks, on the other hand, is often more expensive than the local coffeehouse, and it offers a very limited menu; you’ll never see discounts or punch cards at Starbucks, nor will you see unique, localized fare (or—let’s be honest—fare that doesn’t make your tongue feel like it’s dying). In other words, a new Starbucks doesn’t prevent customers from visiting independents in the same way Wal-Mart does—especially since coffee addicts need a fix every day, yet they don’t always need to hit the same place for it. When Starbucks opens a store next to a mom and pop, it creates a sort of coffee nexus where people can go whenever they think “coffee.”

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About Andy Wibbels

Andy is an award-winning blogger and author of the book Blogwild! A Guide for Small Business Blogging. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Entrepreneur, Wired, Business Week, Forbes, and other national and international media. He was worked at several San Francisco startups including Get Satisfaction, SAY Media, InMobi, Keas, and Mindjet. Currently, Andy is Director of Marketing at Lucidworks. Tw · Fb · G+ · Li

2 thoughts on “Why Starbucks Doesn’t Kill Mom/Pop Cafes

  1. Maryam Webster

    In protest, I finally had cancelled, a good six months after my FIRST request, and well into my FOURTH request, my Starbucks T-Mobile wireless account. I realized I could get:
    a) Better coffee
    b) Friendlier attitudes and the same servers (not baristas, please) time after time who know me, and know how I prefer my drinks.
    c) And most importantly, free wireless
    at every mom & pop cafe in a fifty mile radius. Starbucks product is predictable, but “only okay” in the parlance of my generation. It’s the McDonalds and WalMart of coffee. Just say no. According to one world class coffee taster, “Starbucks is in the business of selling milk.”
    ’nuff said.

    Reply
  2. Connie Ragen Green

    Starbucks is an interesting phenomenon. I guess if you can’t afford a home, designer clothes or private school for your kids, you can at least have a Starbucks. That’s my observation from the Los Angeles point of view.

    Reply

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