Global convenience store giant 7-eleven seem to have found the way to the hearts of Japanese coffee drinkers. Just over a year after they installed automatic coffee dispensers at its convenience stores across Japan, it has already sold almost half a billion cups of coffee. The cheaper price should be the main reason, but even without the premium choices and the baristas, 7-eleven Japan’s coffee can hold its own – and maybe even beat – the pricier competition.
“The coffee is freshly ground, but we managed to provide customers with the price tag of 100 yen (US$0.96 cents), which is attractive to everyone,” said Noritoshi Murata, president of Seven & i Holdings Co., the parent of the 7-Eleven chain in Japan. “The product helped lift our entire sales.” Coffee sales have pushed 7-eleven stores post a 27% increase in total net profit to 176 billion yen (around US$1.7 billion dollars) for the fiscal year through February. The convenience store took its cue from fastfood chains McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, trying to challenge the more expensive coffee from Starbucks with a slightly cheaper version, but competitive in quality. 7-Eleven has now installed coffee machines at 16,000 stores across Japan, grinding and brewing drip coffee to order.
The secret to almost 500,000 cups of coffee sold in a year? It may be the price, but it’s also the quality. Hideki Hashio, a 39-year-old financial-services worker in Tokyo’s financial district, said that he actually liked how the coffee tasted. “The balance between its price and its quality allows me to have it daily,” Hashio said. “Hotel coffee might be better. But it tastes better than Starbucks or Doutor,” he added. And it seems that a lot of other Japanese coffee drinkers agree, to a point where it is not uncommon to see lines at a 7-eleven in Tokyo every morning as employees and workers grab their morning coffee.
[via The Wall Street Journal]