Monday, March 09, 2009
Bucking the Trend (1)
Nescafé Classic squares off against Starbucks' Via
Ah, Starbucks. I'm not sure how it's possible to screw up a business plan based on unrestricted sales of legal addictive stimulants to consenting adults but somehow the company has got itself into difficulties. And now some (doubtless overpaid) marketing whizz kid within the organisation has come up with a grand plan to save it from extinction. Or at least protect the obscenely large bonuses of the upper echelon Fat Cats (better not get me started here -I'll save some material for a another post). Anyway the answer to SBUX's current woes is not, as you might reasonably think, a new distribution and roasting system to stop the coffee tasting stale and burned* or perhaps a fair and equitable compensation system for all employees. Oh, no. It's...pause for drum roll...Instant Coffee! My goodness this is pure genius. I mean all the customer has to do capture the "Starbucks Experience", as I once saw it described, is add water. And here's the best bit. A 4 gram sachet of Via, enough for 1 cup is only $1.00. Yes, that's right a measley dollar. SBUX executives are calling this landmark devlopment a "Game Changer". I'm sure that in a recession people will be queuing up around the block to buy their packets of Via. Personally I'm going to stick with my Nescafé Classic as old habits die hard. And a quick back-of-the-envelope calculation tells me that a 4 gm spoonful of this old standby equates to 10 cents a cup.
*A quick test of a free sample has revealed that Via does indeed accurately mirror the "Starbucks Experience" in the comfort of your own home: it tastes stale and burned just like the real thing!