Coffee in Sanderstead
11/06/2015 15:49:00......Posted by Yvette Hopley
Taking coffee in Sanderstead at one of our many coffee shops is always a pleasurable experience. However, I believe a certain code of conduct and mode of operation in relation to the sale of this beverage is important and problems can arise when "boundaries" are crossed. We can all remember from history what took place in Boston over the tea and we want no such occurrence over coffee in the area.
I am pleased to report that Costa Coffee have taken the matter very seriously over enthusiastic staff taking their sample iced drinks into the park area where Priscilla's operate and I have received the following response from the director:
I have been passed the details of your email sent to Chris Rogers, in respect of the concerns you have regarding the handing out of free coffees by the Costa store in Sanderstead.
This particular store is operated by one of the franchise business partners within my responsibility, and as such, I have taken your comments extremely seriously. I have instigated an investigation into the matter, and have provided some context below, as a result of my findings.
It would seem likely that the store were indeed giving out free samples on or around the date of your email. That weekend coincided with the launch of Costa’s summer range, which includes some new iced drink products. We actively encourage our store teams to offer free samples of these products to help build customer awareness of these new ranges. I should stress that the samples are presented in a small cup, and would only provide a taster of the drink – not a full measure. Whilst we do encourage our teams to offer such samples, as a brand we are very clear that these should only be provided in store, or in the immediate vicinity of the store. It is certainly not our Company policy (or that of our franchise partners) to target other local businesses. The purpose of the sampling is to empower our teams to interact and engage positively with local customers with our new drinks - to blatantly target this activity against other local business would completely undermine this intent – as is perfectly demonstrated and articulated in your email.
Our investigation with the partner has shown that store team were thoroughly engaged and excited by the product launch and were actively sampling over the weekend in question. Our franchise partner, Goldex Investments (Surrey) Ltd are deeply concerned that their sampling activity has been perceived to have been targeted at Priscilla’s and thereby caused offence to you and other members of the community. They are very keen to ensure that all of their stores do their utmost to immerse themselves in, and support the local community - and Sanderstead has been no exception. For example, since opening the store in December last year, Goldex have provided & sponsored the kit for both the boys and girls school football teams. They recently had the pleasure of inviting both teams over to the store from the school to enjoy a drink and a cake in our store - which the Sanderstead Costa team purchased and decorated themselves for the players. They arrived in store proudly sporting their brand new kits! (Please see photo’s attached)
Goldex have taken your comments as equally seriously as I have, and have re-emphasised to their team that sampling must only be conducted in the immediate vicinity of the Costa store, and under no circumstance should sampling activity be targeted towards any local competitor.
I sincerely hope that I have allayed your concerns regarding this matter, and provided assurance that neither Costa, nor our franchise partners, seeks to aggressively target local businesses with this activity, nor risk causing conflict with our local community or local authority.
Head of Franchise Stores,
Costa UK & Ireland