A nice coffee shop is… (Part Two)

I don’t normally favor franchised coffee shops, but I realize that what sustains a big brand is its story. “A drink from paradise… Available on earth.” Something like that. Many of us believe that “We only live once”, so who wouldn’t be tempted to taste something from paradise while on earth? There is no warranty that once we die, we’ll taste such a drink in the paradise. Assuming we’ll go to heaven slash paradise. Assuming heaven exists. Black Canyon did play with my ego there. I just finished reading “All Marketers are Liars” by Seth Godin, yet I willingly let myself fooled.

A section in Godin’s book says something about the problem of franchise business. The story that a brand creator made in the first place sometimes does not translate correctly in a different setting, although the written SOP’s are exactly the same. Have you experienced food poisoning in a McDonald’s? Or seen that the chicken was not thoroughly cooked? In this case, the problem is in the execution, you may say. But it can also be the case that a franchiser doesn’t care of the story the brand is aiming to tell. Who cares if the story translates or not. McDonald’s have always made good business so far, meaning that some aspects of the story do get to the costumers, and one of those aspects is “being part of the ‘cool’ Americanized community.” Some brands are not ‘lucky’ enough though. Costumers feel betrayed because a story is not consistent; they feel the brand only wants their money, so they leave.

Now, back to the coffee shop that provides the “drink from paradise,” particularly the one located on Jalan By Pass Nusa Dua – not so much an upbeat location, unfortunately. I have seen a restaurant with a ‘story’ close down because they failed to win people’s attention, and this one seems to walk in that direction, too. Too bad. A place like this is almost perfect to my taste: you can sit for hours, good wi-fi, quiet enough for you to play with your laptop and produce a blog post or two, good music, well mannered waiters, and this “drink from paradise”! Their coffee tasted really good, I tell you. The downsides: poor interiors! The fridge was wrongly placed near a guest’s table, giving it a cheap ‘warung’  feel; the plastic flowers were a big NO; the electronic cables were carelessly attached across the walls. It did feel like I was in a warung, not a cafe. I was close to dismissing all of those downsides, though, due to the fact that I could work peacefully with my laptop, sipping my coffee that tasted just right…. when… the waiters started to stack the chairs and lift the outside tables in. “We close at six pm,” two of the waiters said in unison. You must be kidding! What kind of coffee shop closes at six?! Maaaan… I was politely sent off. I didn’t feel bad for myself, or least not as much as I felt about this coffee shop. To me it was a confirmation that they will close down for good within a few weeks.

Location is important, of course. But that is not everything. Tell me a good story, a lie that I want to hear. If I’m your potential ally, you should embrace me, not send me off. Black Canyon Nusa Dua, I was soooo close to liking your story! So I left. Betrayed.

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