Coffee bars are getting aggressive in their bid to attract footfalls. In the news is Café Coffee Day (CCD), which has tied up with Himalaya Drugs to create four new items on the café’s menu – Honey Cappuccino, Honey Milkshake, Rich Chocolate Cake and Ice cream topped with honey and nuts.
“The association with Café Coffee Day was not only to expand the category, but also to create touch points for people to experience the goodness of Himalaya Forest Honey,” says a Himalaya Drugs spokesperson.
A contemporary version of the “hamburger and coke” fast-food joints, cafés are high-traffic youth hangouts. Branding through cafés promises an alignment with a vehicle that makes the brand contemporary and connects with the youth; you can choose the location, get the target group to sample your wares, or advertise in their newsletters. This is perhaps why brands like Elle 18, Levis, Motorola, and more recently, Himalaya Drugs have hooked on to the coffee cart.
How does the café benefit? According to company sources, during the trial period, CCD received an incredible response for the new honey-based items. While similar promotions for other branded drinks have normally resulted in an uptake of 120–130 units over a fortnight, Honey Cappuccino got an uptake of 4,294 units. The response has prompted CCD to consider giving these items a permanent place on the menu.
Part of the Rs 250-crore ISO 9002 certified Amalgamated Bean Coffee Trading Company and the first to roll out the ‘coffee bar’ concept in India, CCD has been hitting the headlines regularly. Earlier this month, the café won top honors at the India Barista Championship 2004, a coffee brewing specialist contest organised by the Specialty Coffee Association of India (SCAI). With 135 stores in 36 cities, CCD is looking at expanding to 200 stores across 60 cities before 2004 end. Based on research and demand, the focus is now on small towns – Kolhapur, Nagpur, Hubli, Belguam, Vishsakapatnam, Allahabad, Varanasi, Ambala, Patiala, Jodhpur, Mount Abu, Bhubuneshwar, Ranchi, Cuttack, Darjeeling, Guwahati and Jamshedpur.
Arch rival coffee-chain Barista has 120 espresso bars and plans to add another 52 outlets shortly. After slashing prices by 22% and stepping up in-store promotions, its footfalls have increased by 20% over the last six months. Barista expects to end the year with net sales of Rs 60 crore and average footfalls of 1.2 million per month.