Friday, August 22, 2014

Froth dissipating as the Coffee Bubble bursts?

News that the Tesco backed coffee chain Harris + Hoole was closing some outlets only months after proclaiming it was on course to double (March 2014 story) might herald the end of the expansion of high street coffee shops, I'm personally so so about  Harris + Hoole.
Not so crowded

Alternatively it might just be that this particular brand lacks what it takes to set it apart from the established shops either way this recession - proof business is not looking so much like a guaranteed banker - so which chains are continuing to bring home the beans and why?
The outside of Zee

Well it seems that for the rest of UK (not me I'm afraid) Costa's the 'numero uno' of the caffeinated beverage and Starbuck's is up there too - for me of the chains. it's Caffe Nero (why the extra F? - because there's no F in Tax paid perhaps) that I would elect to visit - I'm not sure if it's only about the drink but their Cappuccino is my default selection, I also like the fact that they have papers to read and are slightly under-lit .

It seems in Ealing the Harris and Hoole is not under threat despite the centre having multiple Neros and Starbucks (as well as a Costa)  - yesterday I visited Cafe Zee for the first time, it seemed pretty good but am not sure about the economics there- it's a big place with quite a number of staff and my coffee was delivered to me by hand at my table (I'd give the coffee a 7 out of 10 from my own personal taste perspective) - I hope it continues to survive but again not sure that it can offer a big enough differentiation to the established outlets.

I have a theory that the coffee shop has replaced the pub as the watering hole for chat and gossip (and look  I'm not alone with this theory) - shame but there you go.

The things you can 'enjoy' with a chain is consistency in taste (the coffee that is)  and decor and if the chain has it, 'Loyalty' rewards - let's face it for the chain keeping you is pretty much worthwhile - £10 per week in a coffee shop is probably quite moderate for the average office serf- over a working lifetime that should not be sneezed at.

Seems that what I suspect is another Coffee shop down towards the Town Hall is nearly finished - we shall see..

Well ' is it or isn't it going to sell coffee?'

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