Whitbread is now considering expansion of its Costa Coffee brand in France; the company has been relatively successful in its primary market, but may have to consider a different approach when doing business in France. Costa Coffee’s success is predominantly in a country that…
Coffee culture in France is rather old; even prominent historical writers have been known to mention a cafe or two in their accurate descriptions of the French revolution. Therefore, coffee businesses are ubiquitous in France; one can find a coffee shop in almost every street corner in the nation’s capital. Most of them are high-end, chic cafes, with lots of decorated interior designs and room for interaction with one’s acquaintances. These types of shops can mostly be found in places like Saint Germaine as well as the Left Bank, which also has a high concentration of elegant coffee shops (“The Cafe Culture in France”).
Typically, a French cafe will have both indoor and outdoor sitting with plenty of wooden interior designs and an intimate atmosphere all around. Cakes, pastries or sandwiches may be available but most consumers go into these shops for the coffee; espresso in small cups is their preferred choice while others may choose different versions of the espresso and cream. Most French waiters in these cafes seem ambivalent about meeting consumer needs and may even appear arrogant to foreign nations. Smoking used to be a distinct aspect of coffee culture in France but after its ban, most patrons prefer to smoke in the outdoor section of the cafes.
Overall, the ambiance of cafes makes coffee cultures predominantly unique in France; people think of coffee drinking as a ritual to be enjoyed. Waiters care little about turnover rates, so patrons have the freedom to sit in as long as they like while catching up with friends (“The Cafe Culture in France”). The cafe is a social meeting place and reflects the unhurried nature of French culture in comparison to other western societies. Regardless, international coffee franchises like Starbucks have already entered the country, so this deep-rooted coffee culture should not intimidate Costa Coffee in any way. It just has to work with ...
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