Coffee shops and cafes should build community instead of discounts and promotions -lessons from Romania market.

by chee Leng (on coffee makers)

Romania consumers are drinking their coffee at home instead of cafe or coffee shops and this has an adverse impact on coffee shops and even threatened their survival!

But, Romania folks are not turning to instant coffee solution, in fact big MNC like Nescafe and Kraft is not big in that country. The Romania coffee drinkers still prefer roast and ground coffee.

They ditch OOH coffee to brew it at home mainly because of cost and secondary because they do not "feel" for the cafe or coffee shops.

This happens when consumers do not have a "stake" in the coffee shops, there is no community!

The main problem cited by local cafes and coffee shops is the lack of knowledge about espresso by the consumers.

So, when they do not demand the best, they cannot charge premium for it, and they are not able to compete effectively!

Here is my $0.02.

Why should the consumers care? The consumers are only there to drink coffee and to enjoy their time there. Sure, if they know their coffee, they would know how to appreciate it better, but before that, they must have a reason to go there.

Cafe and coffee shops all think that their coffee is the best. No doubt about that, the fact is their coffee has to be good to be in business.

But, one cannot expect the same for coffee drinkers. They are spending money, they need to be "entertained".

So, when they want to spend their $4, they need to know where is there a place where they can best get their $4 for the maximum value.

If a cafe or coffee shop has a theme, a story that align with their beliefs say pet themed or cartoon story themed cafe, then they are more likely to go there.

Selling based on good coffee is a generic strategy and is akin to having no specific focus. One should focus on a theme, work on growing a community then up-sell their premium coffee.

That is over delivering value, and coffee drinkers would feel getting lots of value for their buck.

While that is the situation in Romania, I feel cafe and coffee shops everywhere faces the same problem with the focus on good food, good beverages, good services, that should be the basic.

The differentiating factor should be the story, the theme of your coffee shop and cafe, and that is the first reason why consumers wanted to check out your ship in the first place.

And it is also based on that, that you would grow your community and letting your consumers have an interest, a stake in your business, building up their loyalty.

In this manner, you would always be reassured of returning customers. And they are likely to bring new customers (friends) with common interest, that is how your shop would grow organically.

That is a more sustainable growth strategy...

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