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Spilt Beans!

Walking into the flagship store in town, of one of India’s leading coffee franchises, I witnessed this sight. Well, they said that a lot can happen over a cup of coffee, but I was not expecting this from a brand that took pride in taking coffee drinking experience to another level in this country.

2013-01-03 11.29.50I checked with the Service Team and was told that there is no storage space at the back of the store and while I was there they even walked up to boxes to extract material needed to prepare the items ordered. I wouldn’t be peturbed witnessing such a sight at a Dhaba, but it irked me to see it happening here.

I am sure the marketing team of this organisation took great pains to design each element that constituted the brand and the layout of every outlet would have been detailed to create maximum impact. But did they foresee this?

At the organisations I worked the constant message heard was that the brand is sacrosanct and can’t be tampered with. Young marketing team members incurred the wrath of the senior managers for not getting the colours and layout right in the promotional material. Colour settings, fonts and the relative sizes of the logo and brand name had to be just right – no latitude; and deviations were dealt with severely!

But the same Managers did not flip when they walked into a branded store of the company and found boxes containing promotional material stacked in an ugly pile where customers and other visitors could see it – sometimes right next to the door!

The upkeep of the customer reception area reflected the company’s ethos, its DNA and revealed the mood that prevailed among the team members. It had to be clean, easily accessible and pleasing on the eye.

If the glow-sign displayed outside the store was broken and unkempt and not lit at night customers didn’t need to be told that things are not all-right inside. No employee of the organisation should permit this to happen.

The least this coffee franchise could have done was to stack the boxes in a neat pile and cover it with a decent piece of cloth so that it did not present an ugly sight to the visitors. In fact this pile also caused some inconvenience to customers who wished to take the cosy corner seat next to the window. They had to step over a box to get there. What was the impression they were creating? This team had obviously forgotten the Moments of Truth concept.

I don’t wish to say it all; what thoughts do you wish to share on this subject?

One for the road – Black & Straight: Imagine taking the last sip from a cup of coffee you relished and the dregs flow into your mouth!

  1. January 4, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Management do not have their priorities right for sure- along with quality, safety and sanitation the first impression is that they just do not care!! So bye bye and no thank you!

    • JayadevM
      January 4, 2013 at 8:47 pm


      That’s right … You don’t care, I don’t care. Let me find another coffee place next time.

  2. vijay
    January 4, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    That would be my last visit to the store, but it is amazing that the company has not noticed this or is it a case where the franchisee is on his way out and this is his way of getting back with his company bosses!!!

  3. January 5, 2013 at 1:48 am

    Sad indeed when the customer is taken for granted

    • JayadevM
      January 5, 2013 at 4:19 am


      Thank you for reading.

  4. Biju Krishnan
    January 5, 2013 at 2:00 am

    First of all the photo is very well taken. Not hitting hard at the brand but leaving enough for the more inquisitive to find out. Well! Whether its a branded coffee shop or any other Company the front end people and how they project the Company to the Customer matters matters much more than other marketing spends that the Company makes. And for this particular Coffee shop I am sure the team has got it wrong – the differentiator for the customer was not the Coffee but the ambience.

    • JayadevM
      January 5, 2013 at 4:23 am

      Hi Biju,

      I am glad you noted the real intention behind the framing of the photograph, Thank you.

      You are spot-on with those comments.

  5. January 5, 2013 at 4:50 am

    I recognize with sadness my favorite coffee chain in India. Like Biju Krishnan says, it wasn’t the coffee but the ambience that drew me to this place. Looks like I won’t go back 😦

    • JayadevM
      January 5, 2013 at 7:14 am

      Hi Raji

      It was quite a mess …. Ambiance! I guess this outlet was trying to match a typical Kerala chaya-kada.

      No cheers this time!

  6. Sreekumar R
    January 5, 2013 at 8:20 am

    This in one instance where the management fail to educate the staff or lack of control and monitoring. This is a lesson for many to remember…of course if they do care!!

    • JayadevM
      January 5, 2013 at 11:30 am

      Hi Sreekumar

      That is right – a lot of management goes beyond processes, regulations and compliance. We talk about ability and willingness. This is a clear case of caring – being personally responsible for the look & feel of the operational area and wanting to give the customers a great experience.

      If that does not exist the organisation fails.

  7. January 5, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    Jayadev, we seem to have taken our “chalta hai” attitude a bit too seriously! Would you be shocked if you discovered a pile of junk adorning a corner of an operation theater? Well, I saw it when I was wheeled in with a badly fractured foot!

  8. Raaj
    January 5, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Hi Jayan..
    Yes this is one of the offshoots of our ‘chalta hai’ attitude… but it is not exclusive to Trivandrum, Kerala or India…
    I have seen this in a location of one of the world’s famous coffee chain location (perhaps the most famous of all coffee chains) here in Toronto. Yes, they are a little more organized with the stacking of the boxes. And the staff too are probably a little more apologetic about it…
    Sometimes, the location is just too valuable to let go of, and the space available might not be enough to adequately service the customer volume… at least that’s the story with Toronto, don’t know if that might be the same in Trivandrum.

    • JayadevM
      January 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Hi Raaj

      The answer would be similar if one were to ask the Management – the wait staff told me that there is no storage space at the back. The location is M.G. Road, Cochin – so it’s a valuable location too.

      But that isn’t an excuse – the owner should take a storage space nearby and have just the amount of stock needed for a day at the outlet.

      But, I must tell my friend Shameem to read your comment – because she insists that this is just on account of the laid-back attitude one would expect to find in Kerala!
      Thank you for that input – everywhere in the world there is room for improvement.

  9. jaishvats
    January 7, 2013 at 5:09 am

    It would be a first order customer-repellent to maintain the area like this…esp at a coffee shop….Considering the exorbitant prices they charge for a cup of coffee which people are ready to shell only for the ambiance and service, maintaining the neatness of the place should definitely be on their top priority list!

    • JayadevM
      January 7, 2013 at 12:13 pm


      Such lapses won’t go unnoticed … the customers will vote with their feet if the outlet does not clean up its act!!

  10. Kailash
    January 8, 2013 at 6:59 am

    J, i would say there is a little fault from CCD company as well. did they checked about the appropriate space for this CCD outlet setup? i guess all this food chain brands (like M’c D, Dominos etc.) has some standard list of Prerequisite. How come they missed this one?

    And yes owner should have taken appropriate steps to keep the brand alive. This is a sorry state on many international food chains on some places our dhaba’s are better then them (at least in hiding the mess 🙂 )

    • JayadevM
      January 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Kailash

      Its a great location; but they obviously have messed-up while planning for storage space.

      But they have no business in dumping stuff up front like that and then talk about ambiance.

      “Sorry state” is putting it mildly!

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