Indian Coffee in Wien

Last week, in Vienna (Wien), while running in the first District, past the City hall and along the Danube in a loop around Stephenplatz and Schwedenplatz, I saw a shop called Coffee Day on University Road. I did not make much of it initially, but when I passed it a second time, I paused mid-stride, having spotted out of the corner of my eye, a board with the new red Cafe Coffee Day (CCD) logo, hanging outside the entrance. I was unaware that CCD had international operations and I did not want to stop my run just then…the next day I walked across to this shop.

Standing outside, I still wasn’t sure it was the same CCD that we all know…my doubts were dispelled the moment I entered and saw the familiar cutlery and menu as well as explanatory literature that described the origin of coffee in India and CCD’s role in the scheme of things, along with tins of Dark Forest on display for sale.

I was quite impressed.

CCD’s growth story is amazing. In the short span that it has been around, CCD has pretty much become perhaps the most trusted and ubiquitous retail brand in the country, snapping up as many corner storefronts as possible. Last month, while shopping in Ahmedabad, I wanted to buy a bottle of water and despite the presence of other shops, went into a CCD outlet, simply because of the comfort and trust levels the company generates. You know what to expect in a CCD, irrespective of the part of the country you are in.

Jingoism apart, the fact that CCD has now gone international is extremely heartening. I felt good going in, ordering a cup of mocha, getting served, and eating some local Viennese dessert with the coffee. Service was faster than in Mumbai and quite pleasant. Interestingly, it also has alcohol on the menu and beer on tap.

CCD seems to have a strategy of being low-key. If you go to a local outlet in India, you would never know it has gone international. Even their regular website www.cafecoffeeday.com has nothing on the international front. It is only when you dig a little deeper that you find another website, www.coffeeday.com that has links to its five divisions that include the CCD retail chain and the other coffee related businesses of the parent company. The header has a tiny link saying “International” that takes you to a site called coffeeday.eu, which surprisingly only lists its Czech outlets.

In an era where even a small new thing international (including 3 second cameo roles in Hollywood films by our local actors) is blown up all over the place both in print and social media, this self-effacement is amazing. The coffeeday.eu site does not allow you access to the Vienna locations and aside from a Wikipedia mention, there is no other way to find anything more about the Karachi and Dubai locations. There is one web page on the four Vienna CCDs, but it only shows up via a Google Search. Or…perhaps someone in the company is just not managing the website(s) properly.

There does not seem to be anything much to be proud of these days; our boxers, celebrities, politicians, the male sex in general…everyone seems to be screwing up and around. CCD is one of those nice silver linings…a local brand that is growing internationally and more importantly keeping kids off the streets, off drugs, off smokes and off alcohol…I honestly don’t care how much time kids spend in CCDs and gyms…these are far better than the other alternatives!

12 Comments

  • Great.Go Inda go.

  • Great! Go India go.

  • V.Subramanian wrote:

    Saravana Bhavan Hotel chain seems to have more hotels outside India, though not crying out from the roof tops about this,they are not as modest as CCD either. South Indian dishes are their speciality though some of their outlet serve punjabi dishes as well.Just another Indian brand that came to mind, which has gone global.

  • P. Venkatraman wrote:

    Woodlands is another example. Komala Vilas has reverse migrated. CCD example is alluring since it has been done by a Corporate & not a SME segment player

  • Wow…. In the present times when we have all news for the wrong reasons, this piece is heart warming. You know Italy gets it’s biggest chunk of coffee from India? Lavazza is a big big importer of Indian coffee there. Who knows what we pay for here is probably made here but branded in Italy:-) Just like the software we use which probably is made here but branded elsewhere hence we pay top dollar:-)

  • We have our very own “UDIPI” restaurants in Houston, Texas. Sizzling Dosas and Idlis that melt in your mouth. Way to go India!!

  • I did not know CCD has gone international, great to know. Vienna is my favorite destination. This summer when I visit Europe, I will check it out.

  • Sometimes it’s good strategy to keep a low profile, gather critical mass in terms of brand equity and then go “boom”. Since this is about coffee, can anyone tell me where I can get a coffee seed roaster? This is a hand rotated roller for domestic use.

  • My wife and I stay in Colaba and are basically retired people ( my wife just writes one or two columns for the Press each week, we have lots of time on hand for movies and coffee shops.
    After the movies, at either Regal, Eros, Sterling or New Empire, we usually visit Cafe Coffee Day which has quite a few joints in South Mumbai. The coffee is resonably good, the prices very moderate and no tips.
    Since they conduct themselves well, many big stores in South Mumbai give them spaces in their own premises to open small coffee shops—-even as small as with three tables with two employees—one cashier and the other helper who also does the cleaning !!
    What a nice way to start small business and encourage young people.

    Phiroze Lilaowala./ 17-03-2013

  • Rohit Gosalia wrote:

    I never knew – CCD originated from India. I always thought – it is an international Brand which reached every corner of India. Truely Super Brand !! The other Product which India produces and available across the world is Parle-G. If you realize this product – probably cheapest consumer product in the world – appreciated and enjoyed by everyone from pauper to Billionaire – is something hard to believe. This product is available everywhere and has long history of more than probably 50 years – I really wonder if there is any other product in the world which has sustained for such a long time – at such a price. It is simply UNBEATABLE. Many big names have been trying over years to sell similar product – but none could ever match success of Parle-G. Long Live Parle-G

  • Prabha Vinay wrote:

    What a warm Coffee break on a Cool Summer morning!

    Feeling Great to know that Cafe Coffee Day started in our own Bengaluru has gone a long way..

  • Ganesh Parameswaran wrote:

    I agree with the last statement of doctor. CCD and gym are certainly better for the kids than other options.

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