What made the CCD experience unique was that it wasn’t just restricted to the metros.

How Coffee Day brought aspiration and affordability to cities and towns across India
news Cafe Coffee Day Thursday, August 01, 2019 - 13:50

“Let’s catch up at CCD,” is probably one line most middle-class Indians have said or heard at one point or the other over the last two decades. Even as news of “Coffee King” VG Siddhartha’s death continues to dominate the headlines, the question on everyone’s mind is whether Café Coffee Day, or CCD as it is more commonly known, can hold on to the brand that made its name synonymous with coffee for over two decades.

What made the CCD experience unique was that it wasn’t just restricted to the metros. If there’s one singular claim that Coffee Day can make over all of its rivals, it is that it took coffee to cities and towns across the country, and offered the same experience everywhere.

What worked best for the chain was its combination of aspiration and affordability. From their brightly lit interiors to the friendly staff and the meticulously clean outlets and bathrooms, CCD outlets offered an air of comfort and safety that was largely missing from the café experience to that point.

Even as it gave coffee an attractive makeover, CCD’s prices stayed well below its rivals, ensuring that it remained the hangout of choice for school and college students, or young adults on meagre paychecks from their first jobs.

Café Coffee Day introduced the café culture to south India, starting from a single outlet on Bengaluru’s Brigade Road. CCD kicked off a cyber café concept that brought young Bengalureans to the world of the internet and a range of brews at the same time.

But it wasn’t just the coffees on offer that turned that single Brigade Road store into an empire of over 1,600 outlets across the country. It was the atmosphere that came with it. Unlike rival competitor Barista, which primarily targeted the over-25 consumer crowd, CCD focused on keeping itself appealing to its younger customers. The result was modern, clean-cut, family-friendly outlets that could draw in all manners of crowds. From young couples on a first date to prospective suitors meeting each other to nascent startups and looking for a no-frills venue for casual meetings, CCD proved a hospitable venue for all.

While the “cyber” soon fell away, a successful café culture remained. At a time when filter coffee and Nescafe-style instant coffees were the only options on offer, CCD opened up a world of coffee drinking for many. From the humble cappuccino, that has since become the go-to coffee drink for most to the Tropical Iceberg that became a symbol of being young and carefree at the time, Coffee Day’s bouquet of offerings turned coffee into something more than just an energising brew. And with more exotic offerings from Ethiopia or Mexico, the brand managed to attach a significant amount of aspiration to coffee.

 

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