Today we visited two coffee businesses, Doka and Café Britt. Doka is focused on coffee growing while Café Britt is focused more on coffee roasting. Each company takes a different approach to business despite being parts of the same supply chain. Doka is a supplier’s supplier. They grow and process the whole bean to prepare it for roasting, only roasting a small amount to sell. The rest they distribute to buyers such as Starbucks and Green Mountain. Café Britt however is a supplier and manufacturer. They buy beans from other plantations and roast it themselves. They also produce non-coffee products such as candy, t-shirts and mugs. Their most popular item isn’t even their coffee! Café Britt expanded its line of products greatly whereas Doka stuck to just coffee. Café Britt took is a more expansive and complex company than Doka, however both are incredibly successful.
Café Britt is a unique company in that they have their eyes constantly set on expansion. They started as a coffee roaster then added chocolates and eventually became a major player in tourism with the first coffee production tour and Britt Stores. Britt Stores sell coffee, chocolate, and every single touristy item imaginable (mugs, hats, t-shirts, you name it, they probably sell it). They have taken a unique approach to business by targeting areas where people (mainly tourists) are such as airports and hotels. They plan each store so that it is unique to the region they are in creating a multi-local business. For example, their store in Barbados is ocean themed whereas their store in Mexico contains many Mayan and Aztec elements. This approach of creating products and stores to fit a country has led to Café Britt’s success as more than just a premier coffee roaster.
In terms of selling, Café Britt has several techniques to ensure the popularity of their products. First, they only roast and produce enough to fill each order so that they aren’t losing money on waste. Second, they take advantage of Costa Rica as a popular tourist destination.
Their coffee tour is not only informative but also entertaining which is accomplished by hiring professional actors. There are also several stops for free samples to get people to try and hopefully, like their coffee. Café Britt also positions its shops in airports where tourists are trying to waste time by walking around and are likely to buy things with the country’s name on it. Finally, Café Britt makes use of the technology era by maintaining a website where people from all over can order their products. In fact, 10% of their total sales comes from online orders.
While Café Britt’s approach to business is successful, I don’t agree with the way they go about it. In my opinion, it is gimmicky and focused more on selling a tourist something they don’t need like a t-shirt or key chain versus a quality product that sells because it is loved not in a flashy store. In fact, most Ticos don’t drink coffee from Café Britt. I believe this is because it is seen more as a touristy airport item than a local luxury. I would focus more on making the coffee and chocolates the star of the company instead of knick-knack filled airport kiosks. I would focus creating a company that the locals are proud of and love where the product sells itself through its quality and value.