16 November 2007
Does Starbucks destroy the high street?
Neil Clark has a piece up on his blog that is highly critical of Starbucks and the other chains that seem to dominate many a high street. He argues that:
The Anglo-Saxon model, by favouring big business and global finance over small, locally owned enterprises, has, in a comparatively short space of time destroyed high street diversity in Britain.
As far as Britain is concerned he is obviously correct, but this is not the case across the globe. Here in Mexico Starbucks have their niche, but it is only a small one, and they do not even have a presence outside the small, westernised ghettos that make up a small part of Mexico City.
Mexicans demand service. To be shown to a table that has a tablecloth on it, to be waited on by a friendly waitress who brings their food and drinks to the table, and to spend as long as they wish at that table. It is the complete antithesis of the Starbucks ethos.
The message, I think, is to give the people what they want. In Mexico people will accept a lower quality of coffee in return for a decent level of service at a reasonable price. In Britain, by way of contrast, far too many people seem to want to live like Americans and do everything on the run.
It comes down to culture. Nobody forces people to drink coffee out of a paper cup, and to line up to get it. They choose to do it, so more fool them.