Posts Tagged ‘latte’

Someone mentioned just recently that I hadn’t posted on my blog for sometime. The truth is I must have a reason to write, something to write about. Sometimes its about something that has laboured long on my heart, other times it’s sharing some good times and other times it’s a rant.

Well this is most definately a rant. It’s a rant about coffee!

My tipple is a medium latte, extra shot, extra hot wet, which is the same as a medium no foam extra shot extra hot latte. In fact it can be any derivative you fancy, but, it needs to end up in the cup pretty much the same, with an extra shot and extra hot and no foam…..simple! Isn’t it?

Starbucks understands, Cafe Nero understands, Costa? no!….well yes they do….sometimes.

You see the problem is that Costa has decided to franchise. The frustrating thing with the mighty Whitbread (who owns the Costa brand) is that they seem more concerned with expansion than they do with quality. They have no problem with opening sites, they are expanding at such a rate of knots that soon they will have more sites than anyone else, but whats the point when they can’t police the ones they have. How many of their managers, area managers, regional managers are seasoned baristas? Not many I should wager.

The strap line they have chosen for the brand is;

Costa – We make it better

Um….sorry Mr Whitbread….no you don’t!

The main issue that Costa has to contend with is that it is ensconced in the dreaded F word…..FRANCHISE.

Now franchising I have no issue with, I have worked for a company in the past and looked after the franchise side for a while. Franchising is good. If you have a strong brand with great support, arduous training, regular reviewing it can work.

Sadly I fear that Costa has spent more time on opening doors than opening training manuals. Yes believe me there are good Costa’s as much as there are poor ones. The part of coffee retailing I feel strongly that they have lost sight of is CONSISTENCY.

My extra shot, extra hot, wet latte can vary so much between shop to shop its incredible. My local shop I popped into this morning had no idea what I was asking for. Three weeks ago at Clacket Lane Services on the M25 I ended up making it myself.

Sadly for the inhabitants of Weston-super-Mare, we have now 2 Costa’s and a few independants. Not a Starbucks or Cafe Nero or even a Coffee Republic in sight.

Love Starbucks or loathe them (I quite like them personally) the one thing you can pin your hat on is the fact that their teams have a rigorous training regime. Baristas are trained to a high level, which has the effect of ensuring that we the consumers have exactly what we want whatever shop we go into. Yes you will get the odd naff cup, but its very rare. If a trainee doesn’t understand your requirement they will ask for clarification, no arguments. Not only have they been trained in coffee making, they have been trained exstensively in the dieing art of customer service. The same has to be said for Cafe Nero. Great coffee, almost every time.

Unfortunately I don’t think that Costa has grasped the concept of quality. Yes, they have grabbed with both hands the price. Like an acrobat on the parallel bars they have a vice like grip on the price, but if I’m paying £2:50ish for a coffee I expect it to be right.

So Whitbreads take a long hard look at what you’re doing. You have a strong brand, but if you don’t protect it, it can so easily and quickly be damaged.

Right im off to Starbucks to console my taste buds


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