Yes, the title of this post might sound a bit weird but I coudn’t think of anything to better describe what I mean.
Cafe Coffee Day is a leading chain of coffee shops in India which started operations way back in 1996. As per wiki it has about 650 outlets spread over 110 cities, which by no count is less and as per this news item here they plan to have about 900 outlets by end of FY09 i.e 73% growth (at the beginning of FY08 they had 520 outlets). The article also mentions that the 80% of CCD’s consumers are in the 15-29 age group.
In the last year or so CCD outlets have mushroomed all over the country especially Delhi, there are at least eight outlets in C.P itself and at least three within walking distance of five minutes from where I stay.There will hardly be a mall/shopping complex where there isn’t a CCD. The way CCD outlets are sprouting I am reminded of the way McDonald’s became a household brand in India. For majority of Indians Burger == McDonald’s and the shift from Nirula’s and Wimpy’s to McDonald’s has been rather fast and interesting.
Each Brand tends to be associated with some feelings/emotions/thoughts etc and that’s what helps brand become more or less popular depending on weather the associations are positive or not and with what audience can it strike a chord. Lets take McDonald’s for example, One can easily notice that majority of its customers would be from middle/lower middle class(and lower class) and of the age group less than 30. It fits nicely with their pricing model too but there’s something about the brand image and way the brand is perceived by people that leads to a particular segment of society more attracted towards a brand than others. Maybe this image( for McDonald’s) of an outlet “that serves cheapest burgers/snacks with a decent enough quality and taste) that does the trick of making them the most popular in their segment and helps sustaining this popularity as living up to this image is not probably as difficult as living up to the image of being a hi-fi/elite burger shop.
The way I see it, CCD is more or less on the same road. It projects that sort of image(of being cheap, of decent quality and a bit stylish) and has managed to strike a chord with a particular(and populous) segment. I feel if you ask any McDonald’s customer about his/her choice when it comes to coffee outlets most will say CCD against Barista or Costa. Thinking more about the brand images/perceptions Barista(launched in 1997) which was more popular initially than it is now offers a more classy experience. It was the first cafe(that I knew) to have a guitar which customers can play other than few board games. Barista however projects a different image, maybe a slightly sophisticated one at that and thus has its appeal limited to a particular segment(which might be small sized).
Given the way CCD is growing in popularity it will be interesting to see how they expand. Will they have different types of cafes for different people/places ? Will they diversify or stick to their existing offerings ?
It might have helped if CCD had a working website, http://www.cafecoffeeday.com/