Small independent cafés like TAP Coffee are developing well despite facing fierce competition from big chains like Costa and Starbucks in London. As a modern independent coffeehouse, TAP Coffee has newly opened the fourth branch in Russell Square. On the contrary, Costa has reported recently that its sales growth has almost ground to a halt.
TAP Coffee has made achievements mainly by three ways.
Unique Decoration Style
To develop a cozy atmosphere, all the branches are decorated by the owner of TAP Coffee.
“All the tables and chairs are made by him, and every painting on the wall is chosen by him as well,” said Marta, a barista of TAP Coffee branch in Russell Square.
There are bicycle models on other three branches’ signboards. According to the manager of the TAP Coffee on 193 Wardour St, the owner likes riding a bike and “he believes there is a relationship between coffee and bicycle.” The owner has integrated his personal interest into the café, making TAP unique and intriguing.
Quality of Coffee
Every morning when baristas go to the café, they will make an adjustment in the light of temperature, humidity, and different coffee beans. All the data on the blackboard will be updated every day to ensure the perfect flavor of milk blend and espresso.
Filter coffee of TAP is a great attraction for coffee drinkers. Marta said, “one cup of filter coffee took about four to five minutes, much longer than other types,” and they would roast coffee beans with keeping the original fruit flavor. Whitbread’s chief executive, Alison Brittain told the Guardian that British coffee devotees had more sophisticated preferences for coffee and did not mind spending more for innovative drinks of high quality. TAP’s rich coffee tastes may cater to consumers’ demand.
Influence of Social Media
TAP Coffee has its own website and a splendid video shot by TAP is shared on the website as the best introduction of TAP coffee from ship to shelf.http://www.tapcoffee.co.uk/
Pictures of coffee and customers will also be posted onto TAP’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, which get about 9300 and 12k followers respectively. Most of the customers’ tweets about TAP’s coffee or music will be retweeted by TAP.
Independent Cafés Threaten Giant Chains?
Costa is the UK’s largest coffee chain despite its flat sales growth. Facing the rise of independent businesses, “Costa welcomes all the challenges,” said Konstanty, manager of Costa on Eastcastle Street.
She added, “Costa is not like Starbucks or Pret A Manger but focuses more on the quality of the coffee.” Konstanty believed that Costa is a more reliable brand compared to small independent cafés, and “Costa also does promotions to attract the public”.
No matter the coffee shop is big or small, if it wants to get a foothold, it must put its foot on the path of innovation to cater to more and more demanding tastes of coffee lovers rather than rest on its laurels.