Café Britt – Quality Over Quantity

Today, we visited Doka and Café Britt. Doka was extremely family oriented. Hence, why the organization is now run by a 4th generation family member. Café Britt was more tourist oriented. This contrast was noticeable while touring both facilities. Café Britt’s tour was funny, interactive, but less informative. The experience was much like visiting Chocolate World at Hershey Park. I definitely learned more specifics about growing, roasting, storing, and selling coffee at Doka. Café Britt is near the end of the supply chain as a retailer and seller.

I think that Café Britt focuses their strategies on international reach, cultural customization, design, and retail innovation. Their most important (and profitable) divisions is travel retail. This division started by Café Britt developing relationships with international airports and selling to international customers. People really had the desire to buy coffee at international airports. But, up until 1989, their desires weren’t being met. Café Britt saw this as an opportunity to enter a new market. Now, they customize their stores and displays to appeal to the culture of whatever country they are placed in. For example, they will customize the stores design and displays based upon the Mexican culture while in Mexico. They call this concept “sense of place.” Café Britt’s retail manager explained that this was one of their mantras. They want to make the customer feel as though the coffee is “theirs” and “belongs in their culture.” I think this is a great marketing strategy because the consumers can relate to the product on a personal level. While in a Café Britt store, they have a “sense of place.” It seems to be working very well for this corporation, and I don’t see any need as to why they would change this strategy.

Café Britt is constantly innovating. They are constantly coming up with new product innovations and display/design modifications. Café Britt increased their product mix by adding chocolates, merchandise, cookies, etc. These products have been going well in both international and domestic markets. Also, they were the first coffee company to truly market themselves as gourmet and place their bags upright on shelves to highlight their packaging designs. This really set them apart and made them a step ahead of all their competitors in the coffee industry. They have made several modifications regarding their gourmet branding, but they are continuing to create new ideas for their lower quality branding (that they will primarily sell to natives that view coffee as a commodity). But if they are struggling with selling to the domestic market, who do they sell to? They sell to international consumers online, in international airports (as stated above), and tours. Their main focus is impressing tourists. Their tour made this initiative obvious. Why are they so focused on tourists? Especially, those from the United States or Europe? The retail manager put it simply, they appreciate the quality that Café Britt produces and they have enough disposable income to afford the premium price. They are on target to generate $250,000,000 in travel retail sales this year. Café Britt marketing themselves as a gourmet coffee at a higher-than-average price makes it essential that Café Britt’s coffee has the highest quality.

Customer satisfaction is how Café Britt measures success. When customers are satisfied, they remember the brand, return to the producer, and spread positive word of mouth. How do you satisfy customers? Offering quality over quantity. Café Britt does this by purchasing from local organic plantations. Each location must meet their quality requirements: altitude, location, quality of coffee bean, quality of plantation, topography, geography, processes they use to harvest and roast, and methods of fertilization and pesticides. Coffee producers must then send samples into Café Britt where they will test the quality and determine whether or not to purchase the whole lot of coffee. They also focus on being sustainable and organic. These characteristics are present in most of their marketing/brand positioning strategies. Café Britt reuses all of their materials. They use water and parchment to power their machines. Their bags are not recyclable, because of the plastic in the packaging, but they supply an external organization with their leftover packages to produce bags, purses, and other products. This conscious effort to become sustainable and organic furthers their initiative of producing quality coffee. I can attest to how rich and flavorful their coffee is. In conclusion, these marketing, sourcing, and quality control strategies allow Café Britt to be one of the most recognizable, successful, appreciated, and prideful brands in all of Costa Rica.

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