Roast Me

Today marked the beginning of my days being over-caffeinated from free coffee samples. My happy and energized state was a result of visiting the Doka Estate and Café Britt. Both produce delicious coffee, and our guides and lectures gave us a lot of information about the workings of the industry. Café Britt is an interesting company because they roast and sell coffee, and they have many partners on the upstream and downstream sides of their supply chain, putting themselves right in the middle. What makes their company unique is that they were the first to roast Costa Rican coffee in the country because all of the coffee beans used to be sent to Europe and the United States to be roasted. In order to make this model work, Café Britt works with around 2,000 small coffee plantations from which they receive their coffee beans. In contrast to Doka, this model requires a lot more regulating, criteria, and quality checks of the coffee plantations. Doka owns their own plantation so they have more control over the quality of the bean, but Café Britt has the task of holding workers from 2,000 different plantations to the same high standards. Café Britt sells to their downstream customers, mainly hotels, restaurants, and most importantly to their stores in airports. Café Britt’s current largest division is travel retail.

Being in the business of travel retail, Café Britt targets their marketing and sales to tourists visiting Costa Rica and to tourists passing through international airports. They began this side of the business by having their coffee on the beverage carts on airplanes, and they have expanded to kiosks in the airports even some under different brand names. They also have expanded their roasting facilities to countries with a high production of coffee like Colombia in order to sell this country’s coffee exclusively in Britt stores within the country. Overall, their major success has come from expanding to airports and countries internationally. They take pride in being able to sell their country across their borders, and more of their success has come when Americans want to continuously purchase their coffee over the internet.

The expansion of stores and their customer base seems to be the most important factor in the company’s success, and they do this by targeting tourists. In Café Britt stores, they not only sell coffee and chocolates, but they sell all different types of souvenirs from Costa Rica and other countries they operate in. These other products lure in tourists who can purchase a Costa Rica mug as well as Costa Rican coffee. Along with this, they place a great emphasis on their coffee tour. They have created an idyllic coffee plantation with beautiful green trees, free coffee samples, and actors as tour guides in order to make their coffee tours an experience. The way the tour is presented says a lot about the company’s target market and goals. The guides make jokes, they have demonstrations, and they all around put on a show. This tour is geared towards visitors who want to see the coffee process as fun and exciting and who will gladly pay for the show, souvenirs, and coffee.

Overall, I think this is a smart business model. Café Britt established their target market, and they are putting all of resources in to this market. Every piece of their stores, tour, and brand are geared towards the tourist, and they know exactly what that tourist wants to see. I think their branding strategy is very smart, and their choice to work in travel retail makes the locations for their coffee endless. Also, their choice of coffee plantations is another great strategy because they’re able to market and sell different types of coffee by region or whether it’s organic. Personally, I liked the visit to Doka better, but I think Café Britt has the advantage of focus on the customer and a lot of opportunity for continued expansion.

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