03 Sep small independents vs big chains
“you will never break the chain” – a popular and much-loved fleetwood lyric, but for the first time in my life, i find myself questioning stevie nicks (if you’re reading this stevie, we love you). i’m wondering in fact, if the chains are breaking, and are big-boy outlets becoming outdated within the hospitality and events industry?
as we see customers lean towards independent, smaller, more niche and local venues, is the benefit of being a large chain disappearing? millennials have a desire to get their coffee/lunch/dinner somewhere that the staff will know not only their name, but the mothers’ maiden name of the chicken that laid the eggs they’re about to serve on their smashed avocado. of course, when a business expands, it benefits from lower costs, which we call ‘economies of scale’ (when you buy 300 loo rolls, as we all have this year, it’s cheaper than buying 3)…but does this matter when a noah, the surrey boy with a beard, who now lives in hackney & wears dungarees, seems more than happy to pay £5.30 for the unbranded and unheard of cuppa, particularly when it gets more likes on instagram than a mcdonalds cafe shot. so, are the benefits of being a big chain disappearing?
the fact that tesco and cafe nero have started opening their own ‘independent’, unbranded coffee shops suggests so; as does the appearance cute, quaint & dusty book shops…which were later exposed as waterstones in disguise! but how many of our favourite weekend spots, are actually much larger than they seem? and can this ‘local’ feel that the likes of tesco and nero are trying to create, be faked? food for thought indeed!