Posts Tagged ‘adaptation’

Thai Latte please

January 28, 2011

A few months back I made some noise on here about the scope for Australia to leverage a barista advantage internationally.

The argument was that our wide brown land was at the cutting edge of the ‘third wave’ of fancy coffee-making (and by fancy, I’m not talking about the Franken-coffees dreamed up by Starbucks for people who like whipping cream, flavoured syrup and milk rather than roasted bean-infused goodness).

Having spent the last fortnight in Bangkok, I can say there may well be considerable competitive advantage for the Aussie approach a few steps back from the leading edge also.

After enduring the overpriced faux coffee of the aforementioned US giant out of desperation, and the abomination that is my hotel’s brew, I followed a tip from an Aussie and headed to a little café run by some locals who’d lived and worked in Melbourne (reportedly).

Café Ohana is doing no more than what your standard Melbourne coffee vendors does, i.e. latte, macchiato etc. They deliver it in a slick Scando-decored venue, with tasty sandwiches and a mix of cakes, but it’s not anything amazingly groundbreaking.  But it felt like an oasis to me, and seemed to be a happy haunt for numerous Japanese ladies who lunch.

It must being doing well, as the firm is about to open another branch (according to their Facebook page).

It’s a reminder that international  transfer of competitive advantages doesn’t always have to be lead with the fanciest, most innovative version of your product.  Indeed, sometime it pays to tone down the radicalness so as to find a receptive audience.

Now if only I could find a purveyor of quality craft beers around here too…


Why Melbourne live music venues should embrace change

January 20, 2010

Good strategy oftens requires undoing old habits and embracing new.  Firms who think outside the industry norm can often find themselves at a better place competitively.  External factors that look like threats  might actually be opportunities.

Take the current dramas in the Melbourne live music scene.  In the past week two long-running pub venues have hit the newspages with the tales of woe.  First, the Tote and now the Arthouse, have announced they will close their doors to bands and music fans, in the face on recently imposed laws regarding security requirements and opening hours.

Here’s a summary:

“The Arthouse’s manager, Melanie Bodiam, said Liquor Licensing Victoria had given the venue two options: close at 1am instead of 3am, or stay open until 3am at a reduced capacity of 90, instead of 300. She said both options were financially unworkable.

”Once our bands finish playing, musicians and patrons want to sit around, have a beer and a chat,” she said. ”We don’t want to have to usher them straight out the door.””

Now I have been a big gig-attendee over the years and love the sweaty confines of said venues (and numerous others), but it strikes me that there is a real opportunity to respond in a way that will be ‘punter-friendly’: start the bands earlier. Have the headline act on by 9.30.  That way you can still get the post-gig drinking bucks, while potentially also tapping into the come straight afterwork and have a meal beforehand market.  It works in UK extremely well.

It is too easy to get stuck in the well-worn groove of the firms/products around you.  But when faced with a challenge, think beyond the norm.  You might find there is a much bigger market over there…