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Coffee giants create new flagship concept with the not-chain chain

From the May 2015 issue.

Coffee’s big hitters are seeking to add a more individual touch to their brands through the opening of increasingly innovative flagship stores.

There were so much buzz surrounding the opening of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room in Seattle that the city’s Mayor officially declared 5 December 2014 to be “Starbucks Reserve Roastery Day”.

Opening the doors to the roastery later coined “The Willy Wonka Factory of Coffee”, Starbucks President and CEO Howard Schultz told the crowd of waiting journalists: “Everything we’ve ever done has led us to this point – this is the next generation of Starbucks.”

Although that statement may sound like just another carefully constructed soundbite, as Founder of Allegra Strategies Jeffrey Young explains, Starbucks is among a growing list of international coffee chains reinventing themselves through the flagship store.

“Starbucks is among the leading chains recognising that when it comes to consumer tastes, one size doesn’t fit all,” Young tells GCR Magazine. “The chains have always offered variety, but now we’re seeing that magnified with this notion of the individual store.”

Peet’s Coffee and Tea announced the opening of its second Chicago flagship store in January 2015. With a vaulted ceiling and natural materials adorning the interior, the company said the new café aimed to provide a more intimate experience for its customers.

The Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) first diverted from its Juan Valdez chain concept when it opened an Origins flagship café in Bogota, Colombia in December 2013.

International Vice-President of Procafecol S.A, Alejandra Londoño Carulla, says the success of this experimental store paved the way for the opening of a second Juan Valdez Origins café in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in April 2014. The FNC has since decided to base all its new cafés on the same model.

“We want to cater to the more sophisticated customers by providing opportunities to learn about our Colombian coffees and the farmers who grow them,” says Carulla.

Even US mega icon McDonald’s has joined the flagship movement.

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