Sunday, October 28, 2007

Franchised frappucinos.

I’m sure it’s possible to have a good coffee at any Starbucks outlet. In fact I know it is: I’ve had my fair share of decent cappuccinos and espresso macchiatos at various places bearing the Starbucks name.

My complaint with the place isn’t the quality of the product – as long as you stick to the basics and avoid the bizarre jelly-choccy-icecream-frothy confections that they introduce on an all-too-regular basis.

My problem is that the whole thing just feels a bit too McDonalds for my liking. In terms of brand positioning, the green circular logo might as well be replaced with the golden arches for all the difference it would make. I feel it’s only a matter of time before they start offering Big Macs with their Frappucinos.

Starbucks is just so… everywhere. Whenever I walk into one, I feel like such a pleb; as if I’ve given up trying and this is all I could think of doing. And that’s not a good thing.

I wish there was a stylish Asian coffee brand, or several brands, that would take on Starbucks at its own game and repopulate our public spaces with some sort of individualism. It would make perfect sense for a café chain to come out of Vietnam. With Asia’s best coffee, and the innate Vietnamese sense of Franco-Oriental style, they shouldn’t find it too difficult to send the Americans packing. They’ve done it once before in another arena; repeating the feat on the coffee battlefield shouldn’t be too difficult.

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