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Coffee chains and the Third Wave scene: The end of the cookie cutter?

From the September 2011 issue.

Ahead of this year’s European Coffee Symposium, Allegra Strategies’ Managing director Jeffrey Young speaks to GCR on the big names are maintaining their place in a changing market.

Starbucks unveils new logo without nameIt wasn’t too long ago that a coffee chain’s strategy in setting up a new store was relatively straightforward. Come up with a winning store design and replicate it in as many prime real estate positions as you can – wherever the market is right. It’s what Jeffrey Young describes as the “cookie-cutter” approach to franchising and for years the public could walk into any Starbucks, Costa Coffee or CBTL around the world and know exactly what to expect.

“Essentially, they were replicating the same experience,” explains Young. “The whole marketplace became a land grab for sites to put up stores. The public started thinking it was trendy to be walking around with a cup of coffee and it became even cooler to be holding a brand like Starbucks.”

These days, you’ll be hard-pressed to find someone walking around with a Starbucks labelled coffee in London. Not because of a lack of interest, but because earlier this year, the company took the name off its corporate logo. Walk into a few of the company’s new locations in London and you may even struggle to recognise the café as a Starbucks. The design of new Starbucks locations are borrowing from their surrounding environment, taking on the feeling of local neighbourhoods.

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