Saturday, July 21, 2007

Can Eurotazza buck the Starbuck trend?

Today: Why does Starbucks have no nationwide competitors? Or strong local competitors?
The closest thing they have to nationwide competition, is Dunkin' Donuts. According to the Wall Street Journal, Dunkin' Donuts has begun profiling their coffee and coffee specialty drinks in their big market areas, hoping to attract the Starbucks customer with a good product at a lower price. It seems to be working where Dunkin Donuts has a strong presence like the Northeast. If Coca-Cola spawned Pepsi, Home Depot: Lowes. McDonald's: Burger King, and Holiday Inn spawned dozens of competitors, why no competition for Starbucks?
Honestly, I try to frequent the privately owned coffee shop when I travel but I am disappointed over 50% of the time when I compare the coffee to Starbucks. It has usually been sitting in the canister too long. You have to admit that the Starbucks people took the Ray Kroc franchise model to another level. They are amazingly consistent from store to store.
Here in Fort Worth, couldn't someone make great coffee, have funky stores, free wi-fi, a lower price and pull off enough of their customers to make a good business? I have been to every independent coffee shop in the area, like Four Star, Panther City, and Eurotazza, and Eurotazza is the only one that comes close in consistency to the Starbucks. I stopped in for a coffee at the Four Star downtown location and it was god-awful. Eurotazza is a recently opened coffee bar on Camp Bowie and is beautifully designed, they have that right; but you have to have good coffee all the time, which means you have to have fresh coffee all the time, which means if you are not selling it you are throwing money down the drain. And maybe they do have consistently good coffee, I don't go there enough to know. The point is if one store is working why not have two or three or more. Starbucks has proved it works but no one is copying the formula. 8 billion dollars a year in annual sales with virtually no competition on the horizon. I don't get it.
(For the record, as of 2006: Starbucks: annual sales: $8.5 bill. / DD: annual sales: $4.7 bill. Starbucks started in 1971, DD in 1952. Starbucks: 11,000 stores; DD: 8,900 stores. By the way, don't write off DD as the future competitior, but they have a ways to go.)

Reviewed next week. Panera Bread, Lili's, Pappa's Burgers. Boooring!


DC said...

Good article. One thing I would like to point out from my experiences at Eurotazza on Camp Bowie; they have consistently produced the best coffee in town. My wife and I now buy our whole bean there and grind it into two equal parts. We like it from the press, so we grind it a bit larger. But, we also grind it for our gold filter drip (early morning is no time to fool around).

The steady flow of Customers may help keep the coffee supply as fresh as it is. But my theory is the coffee is better than Starbucks, or any other for that matter, to begin with. There is less acidity and it's ultra-smooth and flavorful. The aroma is heavenly.

The owners have continued to make the place a comfortable, attractive java lounge with all the techno-amenities and service. They also have local trios and solo musicians adding to the ambiance at night.

So try it again and see what you think. I'm just glad Eurotazza is close to me; when I'm even to lazy to make the drip!

Thanks for the article - good blog BTW.


Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of Eurotazza... for sure. Their in store lattes are fantastic, I think the paper cup takes something away from the coffee for sure... :)

Francis Shivone said...

Dc -- you hsve commented on an older post so I'm not sure if you'll get my reply.

I agree with you on Eurotazzo. They are one of the very few independent coffee shops that make good coffee. I have only been a few times though, to be honest.

My overall point though is that Starbucks is at a point where I think a good company, with good coffee, could pull some of their business away from them. Since I have written that post it is even more true. Pikes Place is a disaster in my view. Great marketing, bad coffee.

I trust Jake's judgment on java, if he goes it must be good. As far as paper cups. I don't mind them for coffee, but for espresso or capuccinos they should be banned.

jeff said...

I also agree...
I travel frequently and try every local coffee hangout I can find. I must say though that Eurotazza has the best coffee of anyplace I have tried. It is always smooth, fresh, and made just right. It is always nice to come home to the best coffee around.

Francis Shivone said...

This post is almost a year old, so you may not see my reply. But thanks. I think Eurotazzo does it right, if you are ever in Philadelphia I know the best the best coffee shop in the city.