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Im tired of hearing those names!!!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey all just need to vent a bit,
My cousin, my brother and myself opened a coffee house/bistro in clinton IA about a month ago and wow we are doing well, great food, awesome coffee drinks but this week a large sandwich chain opened not to far from us and we felt it this week and now a starbucks is getting ready to open in town...
I put a lot of time, pride and love in to my food!!!! and our coffee is out of this world we use a 35 year old piston machine we make authentic espresso but I know when starbucks opens we are going to feel it and I just don’t understand people sometimes... The building we rent was not big enuff for a kitchen so I sent up on the front line and people love it they see what is going in there food they get to talk to me while im doing it and I think all in all I make it a fun experience for them. here in clinton to see some one in a chefs coat is a rareity(is that a word??)so they love to ask were I’ve cooked what my speciality is and what do I think of Emmeril(mmmm I wont go in to that lol) So after all we give them they are still going to get a crappy sandwich a horrible cup of coffee made for them by some little jerk with an attitude cuz he has to work late on a Friday night....grrrrrrrr
Part of me is afraid because these places have a tendency to put us little guys out in the cold and I hate it...I hate cooperate food made by a cooperate employee were one of those **** cooperate polo’s and that stupid fake cooperate happy attitude!!!!!!
If I’ve offended any one im sorry that was not my intention some of these people put a lot of pride into what they do and there just stuck in the cooperate machine...
Hey can anyone tell I used Word to write this LMFAO
post #2 of 14
Now do you feel better? Breath deeply for a minute.

You maybe a little surprised, a lot of folks still appreciate the enterprising independant; keep treating your customers special and don't bad mouth the competition in front of them. You and your crew are part of the neighborhood, let that feeling prevail. Good Luck.
post #3 of 14
Mikefly,
you do have cause to be concerned, but i don't think it's hopeless. people still appreciate good customer service and personal attention, both of which you cannot get at Star****s. if this helps, on my walk to work, i pass by 3 Starbucks, 2 Tulleys, an oh-la-la, and a Peet's to get my coffee from the little independant cafe that 2 blocks past my office. it's better coffee and i like supporting the small cafe culture that doesn't exist with the large coffee-house chains.

and even though i found an insect in the bottom of my coffee last week, which when i brought it back to them to show they offered me free coffee for a week, i will continue to patronize them.

bottom line: keep a strong personal relationship with your customers and they'll keep coming back.

good luck
pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
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pierre
i t ' s . a l l . a b o u t . t h e . j o u r n e y
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post #4 of 14
Starbucks can be good for your business if it's close enough, and you can be good for Starbucks if you're close enough. If Starbucks opens up down the street, the people walking to Starbucks might walk by your store. Instant advertising. They may try your coffee and decide that Starbucks is crap!

This is the whole reason behind food courts, malls, "lifestyle centers," and other groups of businesses which seem to be clustered together and all aiming for the same type of consumer. It's a feeding frenzy!
post #5 of 14
It's spelled rarity.

Meanwhile, provide quicker service for less money than Starbucks.

Good luck. I wish you success.

Mark
Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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Salad is the kind of food that real food eats.
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post #6 of 14
Hi from another river rat- I'm originally from the Quad Cities.

Can you market to the casino boat trade? Offer coupons, handbills, etc. to attract traffic? All this assumes the clientele can reach your place easily. Do you know anyone along the river a need for similar strategies?

I'm no pro, but I would guess you need a marketing plan to steer you through the shoals of chain store dangers. Good luck!

Mezzaluna
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Moderator Emerita, Welcome Forum
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post #7 of 14
independant coffee houses are springing up all over STL.....and succeeding. They pull in neighbor groups as a meeting house, ie....knitting clubs, poetry night, environmental factions....they promote coffees, service, "underdogness", and have menus that starbucks won't compete with. Starbucks here is all about coffee/tea drinks shipped in pastries and occasionally drive through. 6am-late at night....they are available when others are not.
So, service the niche that starbucks isn't......food, community groups, "p.c. coffee".
cooking with all your senses.....
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cooking with all your senses.....
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post #8 of 14
Mikefly,
6 years ago I passed a location for rent in the upscale part of town. Hmm? great place for a family bakery. Everyone, including the banks, said I was nuts for it is surrounded by a CC's coffee shop, La Madaliene, Starbucks, Benny's bagels, Deli's, and Franchises.
I spent most of my off time from my other bakery in these places. After a while the only thing that would seperate us from them was quality. service and having birthday cakes to go. Even though I owned my businesses outright I could not even get a LOC. because of the location.So I financed it myself.
It's been 6 years and we haven't looked back. I found a roaster to supply me a great Costa Rician/ Columian blend coffee which we sell for 25 cents a cup. This is a wash but it brings them in for muffins and other morning items.
We have a very limited high priced chalkboard menu lunch with everything made fresh. Homemade soup was our surprize, we sell a lot even when the temp is 100.
Sold 1400 b'day cakes out the front door the first year.
We make it a point to know our customers on a first name basis.
Find your niche and go from there.
As others have said, those other places bring traffic. Make sure your visible
good luck
pan
FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone!!!!!!!!!
im just scared ya kow what i mean its a leap of faith and somedays that faith is hard to find that faith....so we have had a few really great days in a row so i feel positive and the faith is with me...thanks again these boards are such a supportive help
post #10 of 14
Mikefly, There is a coffee shop down the road near the beach thats been there quite a while. The lady who runs it is a hoot, she actually works in a nightgown in the early morn. Anyway, about 6 months ago a Starbucks opened across the street from her. The local paper predicted her demise. Fast foward to present, her business is better than ever. Starbucks is busy too. They just drew more people to the area.(by the way, the beach is a great spot for an early morning java)

Tony
post #11 of 14
mikefly,
I joined this forum to specifically respond to your lament.
I understand your fears and I feel your tiredness.

We opened a place almost 13yrs ago, in a spot where we were told by everyone from our lawyer to our acountant and our competitors said we would fail. In fact our first dollar is from a competitor who gave us six months.
I used to have time to read the NY Times front to back. We even questioned our thinking a few times in the first few months. We just concentrated on taking care of our customers.

We serve some upscale sandwiches, salads, soups etc. etc. We make all the things that make sense from scratch. We make our own breads and pastries. Our main focus has always been coffee. We work an 1100sqft footprint with an electric two burner hot plate, a convection oven, a tabletop size electric pizza oven.

A couple years after we opened, a full service restaurant with a coffee bar opened in the plaza behind us. Everyone predicted failure for us.

The grocery store across the street put in a salad bar and a full deli.
Everyone predicted failure for us.

A few years after that a Starbucks kiosk opened in the grocery store, they put the big green circle on the side of the building. The lady who had made an offer to buy our place cut and ran the minute she saw it and everyone predicted failure.

Then came a couple years of construction. One summer they closed the road to one way traffic for six months. I did take a job as a personal chef and once again..........

Then one of the local chains opened a full serve restaurant in the plaza behind us. Everyone said we would surely go down.

The liquor store on the other corner put in a small deli and began selling sandwiches. We wished them the very best and offered to bake fresh bread for him but he wanted to offer stale three day old bread from a place popular across the state. Once again..........failure for us.

One of our direct competitors opened a nice coffee shop in the plaza behind us I can throw a stone from my back door and hit his. Its really a nice place. Once again we wished him well, welcomed him to the neighborhood, closed for the day he opened and listened to the stories of our demise.

Just over two months ago we opened a second place with a real kitchen, a menu with everything from pancakes, to burgers and steaks only four miles from our first. Everyone is telling us that it will take too much biz from our original locale. I just looked at my numbers and sales at our first locale are up so far this period over last year by a few bucks.

Everytime one of these events occured our sales slumped for a period of time. We stubbornly put our heads down and concetrated on our own walls.

Made sure our customers were very well taken care of. Learned their names, their favorite drink, how many sugars in their coffee, the kids names, where they work, and listened to them.

Improved what we were doing in house. Worked with our staff on fast friendly service, upselling (especially breakfast pastries in the morning and desserts at lunch, food presentation, 17-20 second shots for every single drink, correct milk temps for every drink, consistency and speed.

I think it's paid off.

Keep the chin up, your head in the game, and your attitude positive and never stop learning.
I am currently reading some marketing materials by Kameron Karrington that will hopefully take us to the next level. His Black Book is filled with excellent ideas for owning your local market. Wish I had found it several years ago.

Best of luck and may the profits continue to roll in.
Life is like Plastic Wrap!
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Life is like Plastic Wrap!
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post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
hey,
wow that last post almost had me in tears i mean really...Thanks again all!!!! we have had a few great days in a row now and lots of new faces so this little engine is going to keep on keeping on
laterz!!!!!
post #13 of 14

Know what you mean!

Being originally from the Quad Cities too, with relatives originating from Clinton, I understand what you are up against.

I go by Katies Maid Rite on HW 61 in the north end of Waterloo, and cannot get over the dozens of cars parked next door at the McDonald's where they pay more for a crummy Big Mac than for a Maid Rite from the absolute best Maid Rite shop in the country!

BUT...Katies still is in business after all these years. I've been eating there every single time I go back through Waterloo to Davenport since 1967.

They also serve the best cole slaw, and friendly service. They see me and the wife maybe once a year now at best, and they ALWAYS have a smile and remember not only our names but why we're traveling through town!

If they do that for us, think what they do for the locals they see all the time.

You don't want those McDonald's customers anyway if their taste is no more discriminating than that! :)

doc
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
lol,
hey next time your in the area stop on in first cup is on me!!!!
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