With over 18 thousand coffee shops across the globe, it’s no secret that Starbucks is a corporate brand and household name. Dutch Bros. Coffee is also well known across the western part of the United States with 200 stores in five states. Despite the size of these corporations, both attempt to maintain the neighborhood feel seen in local coffee shops.
Corporate Coffee Shops Feel Local
Starbucks baristas interact with more than 60 million customers per week in 62 countries, said Alisa Martinez the Senior Manager, Global Brand Public Relations for Starbucks Coffee Company. Despite the scale of the company, Starbucks maintains a “neighborhood environment,” Martinez said.
“A lot of people talk about their store as ‘their store’,” said Martinez. “Do you want to meet at my Starbucks or do you want to me at yours? And so they really are kind of tailored to their neighborhoods and I think it’s just a sense of comfort and familiarity that people have.”
Each Dutch Bros. Coffee store see more than a thousand people per day, said Josh Hayes the Regional Manager for Dutch Bros. Coffee in Arizona. Even with the large number of customers, workers at the coffee shop maintain a familiarity with customer Hayes said.
“Whether it’s remembering their drink, or their name, or just making them smile, it’s just one of those things that we do,” said Hayes. “We never close our windows, we don’t have a speaker box and we’re very open and honest with people. We like to create a vibe and experience that you can’t really pay for.”
Dutch Bros. creates this vibe through its hiring process, said Hayes.
“I basically hire people that are genuine and then I train them to be able to do what we do, so from the beginning they are already that way and we just bring them into our company and teach them to make drinks,” said Hayes.
Customers keep coming back to Dutch Bros. for its upbeat environment, said Hayes who said that he sees some regulars up to three times a day.
“I always tell people, hey man, it’s all about the vibe,” said Hayes. “You need to play to your customers. When you do things, think of your customers. Think of everything you do. The atmosphere is always fun and friendly.”
Kayla Susino a senior at Arizona State University said that the she often goes to Dutch Bros. The vibe and the convenience, she said, keeps her coming back.
“One of the things I love about Dutch Bros. is that they’re kind of hippy in a way,” said Susino. “The vibes that they send people is that they are so happy and chill and hang low.
The convenience of Dutch Bros. is another plus, said Susino.
“They’ll even come out to your car and take your order,” she said.
Both Starbucks and Dutch Bros. cater to customers by customizing drinks. There are 170 thousand different ways to make a drink at Starbucks, said Martinez.
“I think that Starbucks has a great reputation for customer engagement and really customization is a big part of what we do,” said Martinez. “
To further create a neighborhood feel, Dutch Bros. is also active in the community through charity events, said Hayes.
“We participate in the local communities,” said Hayes. “The biggest charity day of the year for us is we donate all of our profit to the muscular dystrophy association, and that’s once a year.”
Local Coffee Shops Provide a Place for Conversation
Locally owned coffee shop, 8th Day Coffee and Culture does not struggle to be active in the phoenix community. The coffee shop does a lot with local Phoenix artists, said Daniel Davis, the manager of 8th Day Coffee and Culture. The shop features performances by local musicians and spoken word artists.
The vision of the locally owned coffee shop is to provide an open table where anyone can participate in the conversation, said Davis.
“No one has more of a say than anyone else, just promoting good human things,” Davis said. “A lot of the arts in the downtown area are very exclusive or they’re kind of darker and we just do a lot of things with hope.”
Like Dutch Bros., the staff members at 8th Day are a contributor to the shops atmosphere, said Davis, who described the shop’s baristas as a family.
“The staff, we really try to focus,” Davis said. “We’re just looking for authentic interaction with other people. We’re trying to promote a space that is neutral.”
– Mallory Price