The Barista Way

The Barista outlet outside Barton centre on M G Road seems to have come up with an excellent way in order to improve their “table turnovers”. They simply play loud and jarring music in order to make the stay as unpleasant as possible for the customers. And new ones keep pouring in so they are able to rake in a larger base on which to spread their enormous fixed costs (rent)!

The location and general ambience (apart from the music of course) of this outdoor coffee shop ensures a steady inflow of customers. And it is not too uncommon to find the cafe full – which could turn away potential customers and lead them to go to the nearby Coffee Day. Hence, what the cafe needs to ensure is that people leave the place quickly. Yes, you could look at tables that seem to have finished their coffees, and go and politely ask them to move on. However, that is not a good thing to do for the waiters and could also harm the coffee shop’s reputation in the long run (remember – coffee shops are inherently supposed to be places where you can have a long chat, etc.).

So what better way to ensure that the consumer leaves quickly than to play bad music? It doesn’t sound so bad at first. It is the kind of stuff they play at the gym. However, it grows on you. Soon you realize that you can’t hear the others at your table. After a while, just when you’ve put your cup down, you realize you can’t even hear yourself. And move on!

What allows Barista to get away with this kind of a “concept” is the location of the cafe (an outdoor thing on the busy stretch of M G Road, facing the Parade Grounds, lots of greenery and good breeze and all that) which creates a much much higher demand for this cafe when compared to the normal cafe demand. Also, add to it the fact that a large number of its customers are first-timers or tourists, and that public memory in connection with things like music is short, and you can see insane profits for this particular store!

On a related note, I’m wondering why the nearby coffee day doesn’t attract the same kind of crowds that this Barista gets. Is it too inconspicuous? Or is it inherently inferior to Barista in the public eye? Or is the off-center location (it is very close to St. Marks Road and further away from Brigade road, while compared to the Barista) a factor? I’m wondering…

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