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!