How Regional Coffee Chains Are Competing With National Heavy Hitters Like Starbucks


Published on forbes.com

Coffee is the world's second most valuable traded commodity behind oil. Coincidentally, it's also the second most valuable commodity in my life, behind sustenance, of course.

Even with its availability worldwide, the competition of growing gourmet coffee shops is increasing exponentially. Several heavy hitters have already established their ranking in the coffee shop hierarchy and are depending on new ideas and concepts to keep them competing advantageously in the saturated market, by offering more food options, loyalty programs, and new drink recipes to keep their patrons coming back.  I fear that it may be only a matter of time before we see a maple bacon orange mocha Frappuccino resurrecting at coffee counters everywhere, but that's another story.

As the monstrous chains like Starbucks and Dunkin' Donuts continue to dominate markets around the world, independent coffee shops and smaller, regional chains are finding ways to break into new markets, as well. These smaller coffee shops and cafes are using alternative strategies that extend beyond the brand association and 52 ounce sugary concoctions offered by the larger chains.

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