Miss and hit

Given Starbucks’ news that it’s closing most of its Australian branches, it was amusing to read Joel Spolsky’s piece on Starbucks and their sales techniques.

I’ve got my own opinions of Starbucks’ product, but I’m not a coffee drinker anyway. Ultimately I think the analysts are right: Starbucks misread the market. Most Australians simply aren’t interested in the bewildering variety of flavours offered to North American customers.

Also an interesting read, in the business pages last Saturday: Aldi’s simple recipe for success. Seems Aldi are doing a bit better with their Australian expansion. But I just love the bit about the two Albrecht brothers deciding to do their own thing, and how they determined where each would trade. They used the standard sibling method:

They got a map of Germany. One of the brothers drew a line and the other had to choose which part of the country he would take.

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11 Replies to “Miss and hit”

  1. Starbucks coffee tastes like crap! They use sub-standard beans and they are costing local coffee shops. There are heaps of great coffee places in Degraves St, Chapel St and Lygon St

  2. Haven’t spoilt my palate with Starbucks,thankfully but the Albrecht brothers’ method always works – keep it simple stupid ;)

  3. I wonder if Hudsons and Gloria Jeans are also feeling the pinch, after all, their product is pretty much the same as Starbucks

  4. I think the problem with Starbucks here, is that you’ve always been able to get the best coffees at the local cafe anyway!

    When I lived in Canada, that was not the case so much – so chain store cafe it was…

  5. I didn’t buy at Starbucks simply because I would rather support local suppliers and if their coffee tastes at all like it does in the States then it is crap anyways. In my humble opinion the yanks wouldn’t know a good cup of coffee if they fell over it and I say that from personal experience having lived there for 4 years and travelled there since. They also don’t understand the concept of hot tea with milk – sigh…….

  6. Oh well…at least it will prove an example to future businesses. That said, if Starbucks were a Mexican takeout, then they would be quite popular as there are hardly any Mexican joints in Australia (let alone good ones). Italian and Greek food, coffee and Asian cuisine is what we excel in. It seems plainly dumb to set up the McDonald’s of Italian food here. It’s little wonder why Pizza Hut in Collingwood shut down.

  7. We got the southern version of Aldi.

    Reuben, McDonald’s had a store in Lygon Street for a while as well according to an article in The Age today, needless to say it didn’t last long…

  8. I don’t buy Starbucks ever. Overpriced crappy coffee IMHO. I’d much rather have a Bridgehead coffee where I know the beans are Fair-trade shade-grown coffee beans. I buy the bags of beans and give them as Christmas presents. Frankly tho, I’m more of a tea drinker in spring, summer and fall. Mmm, starting out the day with a lovely fresh cup of Orange Pekoe. Now that is a good way to start the day! Where do I get the Tea? From Bridgehead of course LOL. :) It’s a local company started by a woman whom saw the need for supporting coffee farmers who wanted to continue their traditional way of growing coffee. So, really it’s a totally win-win-win situation (us, them, the enviromment)

    http://www.bridgehead.com They deliver.

  9. Starbucks are closing hundreds of stores in North America in the next year, so I don’t think they misjudged the Australian palate, more that they expanded way too fast.

    I go to Starbucks occasionally, but to me, coffee is coffee. It all tastes awful, and I’ve had coffee all over the world. Why go there if coffee is awful? When you add lots of sugar, chocolate and whipped cream, it’s good; you can hardly taste the coffee at all.

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