Analysis of Café Britt’s Role in Latin American Coffee Supply Chains

Café Britt is a Costa Rican coffee roasting company that is known for its gourmet-quality coffee and its very successful marketing strategies. While other companies, such as Doka, grow, harvest, roast, package, and sell their own coffee, Britt focuses only on roasting coffee beans and marketing them under a strong brand name. Britt acts as a manufacturer in the coffee supply chain since they do not grow or harvest the original coffee beans, but instead buy processed beans from farmers, roast them, and either sell them under the Britt brand name or distribute the roasted beans to other companies to be further processed and sold. Put simply, Britt focuses on performing one step of the complete coffee manufacturing process extremely well, rather than controlling the whole process from start to finish. The way in which Britt appears to measure success is by comparing overall profits from year to year. In this way, they have a consistent metric for determining their growth rate and potential in order to set realistic and achievable sales goals for upcoming years. Another way in which Britt measures success is with overall floor space owned, or “square meters” as the retail manager who was discussing this topic put it. As the amount of floor space that Britt owns increases, so the reasoning goes, their overall sales must also increase. The amount of floor space owned by Britt increases as more shops are opened, which logically should correlate with increased profits and overall success.

Café Britt has achieved their rapid success by implementing innovative marketing strategies and fruitfully expanding their business into other Latin American countries. In order to achieve the high brand recognition that they currently enjoy,  Britt employs manufacturing and advertising methods which brand them as gourmet, high-class coffee roasters. They focus on creating distinct packaging and tastes for their coffee blends, which has led to the increased amount of sales that the company has seen in recent years. In addition, Britt has been able to successfully open stores in countries such as Colombia, Peru, and Mexico. In order to increase sales in these stores, Britt employs a marketing strategy that they have dubbed “creating a sense of place”. This tactic entails conducting research into the local culture, preferences, tastes, and histories of the areas in which the company intends to open a store. Everything about the new stores, from the layout of the merchandise shelves to what types of merchandise are sold in the particular store, can then be tailored to suit the needs of the local people, attracting more customers and greatly increasing sales. However, to manufacture and ship roasted coffee all the way from Costa Rica to Mexico, Peru or Colombia would prove to be very expensive, and decrease the company’s profit margins. Thus, in order to maximize the amount of money that they receive from their international enterprises, Britt has opted to source coffee sold in foreign countries from local coffee growers and roasters. In this way, Britt cuts down on logistical expenses that would normally be involved in shipping coffee from Costa Rica to their foreign stores. Britt has also created a strong social media-based advertising campaign. This allows the company to spend less money on traditional advertisements, such as billboards and posters, and connect with their customers on a more personal level while keeping the overall advertising costs constant.

These three reasons are major contributors to the success of Café Britt, both in Costa Rica and internationally. While their effect on the profit margins of Britt is undeniably positive, I disagree with the methods that the company is using to conduct their business. I think that it is imperative that Costa Rican businesses remain loyal to their home country in order to help grow Costa Rica into a real competitor on the international market. This will help to improve the standard of living for citizens of Costa Rica as well as provide more economic and social stability to  Central America as a whole, as more investors would be attracted to companies such as Café Britt. Thus, rather than changing the way that their business is portrayed depending on what country it is being marketed and outsourcing some aspects of their merchandising and materials, I believe it would be more beneficial for Britt to source their materials directly from other Costa Rican businesses. However, I do realize that this business practice would decrease the overall income of Britt, and I can see why the company would be opposed to trying this since one of their major indicators of success is the amount of money brought in each year.







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