If you already thought two Starbucks on every corner was overkill, and if you thought their breakneck expansion diluted their quality like a packet of Kool-Aid dumped in a county reservoir, you ain’t seen nothing yet. At least according to Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, who recently said, “[T]he saturation opportunity in the US is not 50% there.”: Starbucks to double store numbers, says chairman – Drinks Business Review.
And it’s not just Starbucks. Dunkin Donuts is performing a Blitzkrieg across the Eastern U.S., Peet’s is expanding beyond the West, and even locally, Caffé Trieste seems to be opening up yet another café — this time at 199 New Montgomery St. at Howard in SF’s SOMA.
Has everyone just gone coffee mad? Has coffee become the new dot-com stock for the new millennium?
To be honest, seeing concurrently overzealous expansion plans like this collide all at once, I’m really starting to worry about a massive coffee flame-out. What we’re mostly seeing is a proliferation of carbon-copy cafés of modest, if not declining, quality. A flood of mediocre coffee doesn’t do us much good, and nor will a market crash forcing the closures and consolidation of penny-pinching-for-survival cafés. I only hope the real bastions of espresso quality weather the coming storm.
As the Magic 8-ball once famously said, “Outlook not so good.”
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