We've been hearing the rumors for a few weeks. The shipping container was dropped in the parking lot 2 weeks ago. We knew the day was coming, and now its here - soon we go to war against the clown with the big red shoes! That's right, I have a newly renovated McCafe' 50 yards from our front door. I saw the shiny new super-auto this afternoon when I picked up my QP w/Cheese. Hoppers still empty, not a smudge or a loose ground anywhere on it. Strategically located far enough from the fry-o-lator to avoid splatter. Everyone in the store casting a wary eye at it, and keeping a safe distance. I can almost see the beast from my perch atop the anti-fatigue mat behind our trusty Astoria... but not quite.

I know we shouldn't worry. We knew this was coming. We've spent our time since open building a reputation as the place to get a good cup of coffee and relax among friends. We're part of the neighborhood, and have friends here now. We've kept our focus on great ingredients and great preparation. We make good coffee. We're doing ok, and growing every week now. We've had a 9 month head start. Its McDonald's, for heavens sake.

We're not really worried, just a little apprehensive as we wait to find out if we got it right. I do have many questions though. How many of our friends will leave us for "not that bad, and cheaper"? When will the free mocha coupons hit the mailbox? How many days of reduced sales will we ride out as our loyal customers give McDonald's finest a try out of curiosity? How many people will McD's lure down the rabbit hole for us, creating a new generation of coffee customer for us to lure away? Will we get a bump due to increased traffic and awareness? Have we done enough to educate our customers about good coffee? Will they really care when presented with a cheaper option?

I honestly have no idea what to expect here. I'd like to think that we'll see no impact -.the McDonalds customer will continue to be a McDonalds customer, and just start buying fancier stuff there. Our customers will be curious and then come back. Good coffee will win. But who knows...

My friends here on the bX, thank you for the help you've been in raising the level of our techniques and drink recipes, preparing us for battle. I'll post back when the dust settles with an update.

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Comment by Wilson Hines on April 18, 2009 at 6:16am
I went to his shop the other day. He has nothing to worry about! And Brady, I have been here two days and haven't seen you yet! Your dad did a great job, even sinked a couple to get me one right - at his discretion. Great shop!
Comment by Chris Avirett on April 17, 2009 at 7:12am
Dude, I know we just met last night but if the passion that was on your face for our industry, is in any way a reflection of your shop, then I think you're right. People will try the other guys out. But then they'll see the people preparing it and that what they're doing is in no way anything more than a set of orders. They'll see the lack of care, and unfriendly atmosphere (speaking from the view of my local McD's); the people in our industry, like those we met last night, are the most important aspect of this whole thing. Without the baristas that care, we still have a world drinking Folgers and diner coffee. just like Jason said, let your work speak for itself. Hopefully I'll get to visit your shop soon. Peace, my friend.
Comment by Banks Thomas on January 14, 2009 at 6:12pm
Good luck Brady, I'm sure you guys will do just fine.
Comment by teresa pilarz on October 10, 2008 at 2:29pm
Hey Brady,
I'm following you (kidding). Just thought I'd stop by after our earlier conversations and see your page. Then I saw your post on McD's. Have you read Fast Food Nation or seen Super Size Me? McDonald's is evil crap food that is making the whole world overweight. It will always attract a certain sector, but people are increasingly more health-conscious and have a greater awareness about good coffee. Keep doing what you are and your people will keep coming back. You definitely know what you're talking about and your shop is absolutely beautiful! Best wishes!
Comment by Brady on September 16, 2008 at 10:54am
Thanks guys.
Comment by Jason Dominy on September 16, 2008 at 6:25am
It's like I tell every indie out there worried about the sky falling, Just do what you do best. If you are the best coffeehouse in your area, no one can take that away. Your shop IS the best shop in that area, and I don't think you have anything to worry about Brady, but it does bring up some good thoughts about the state of our coffee landscape. It's definitely changing, and now, more than ever, you have got to be the best you can. The days of being decent and successful are over. The average life span of a new shop opening in Charlotte right now is 6-8 months. People are losing lots of money, all because they just wanted to be decent.
I like the saying, "Go Big Or Go Home." (I think it's a good mantra for the coffee industry. I don't mean size, I mean drink quality, BTW.)
Comment by Wilson Hines on September 16, 2008 at 6:16am
I think, overall, it is a good thing, Brady!
Look, $B moving into Goldsboro (our nearest big town) was what got me interested in "better coffee." After I had an employee at $B talk my skeptical self into trying out a French Press with some of THEIR Ethiopian Sidamo I was constantly looking from that point forward on how I could make my coffee experience better. That lead me to Coffee Geek and it took off from there. But, it was a $B salesperson who saw my desire after looking at some really high priced coffee drip machines and then took the time to show me how simple is truly better.

And besides, have you tried that McDonalds coffee? I have and after you read about it I don't think you have anything to worry about. If $B is what we consider marginal to bad coffee, MDs is horrific. Flat out bad coffee.

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