Driven to Espresso: Drive-through Coffee Stands in the Northwest

If you think coffee culture is cool, you have come to the right place. I have loads of information and opinions to share about espresso in the Pacific Northwest, especially the drive-through phenomenon.

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Location: Edmonds, WA, United States

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can a competitor bring you business?

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks, has stated that the $100 million ad campaign by McDonalds for their McCafe coffee has likely helped Starbucks business this past fiscal quarter. He comments that huge marketing campaigns by fast-food companies trying to attract coffee consumers, "created unprecedented awareness for the coffee category overall..."

This theory is nearly the same as the point I make in my book, Driven to Espresso, that contrary to what may seem obvious, drive-through espresso stands can actually thrive well when located in the same neighborhood as a Starbucks cafe.

The basic premise is that Starbucks spends their marketing money in finding ideal locations for their cafes, based on demographics and traffic flow, and once the cafe is in place and creating a demand for that product, consumers form an association of that area with availability of specialty coffee.

In addition to their national and global advertising, Starbucks' presence there is introducing consumers in that specific neighborhood about specialty coffee products such as espresso drinks. Smaller businesses such as drive-throughs benefit from that new, growing expectation. After a short time, some consumers are bound to look for alternatives for any number of reasons, and finding an alternative in the same area makes it easy to try them.


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