Thursday 22 May 2008

Dalkey against Starbucks

In local news this week is the story that Dalkey, a small town just south of Dublin, is up in arms at the prospect of a Starbucks cafe on their doorstep. Like many places around the world, the residents of Dalkey don't like the idea of globalisation coming to their idyllic coastal village. (Sorry folks. Living in 21st century Ireland means globalisation is already there even if McDonald's are not - does the local pub sell Guinness?).

A Bebo site has been set to garner support for their protest: Dalkey against Starbucks.

Along with the issues of globalisation, the biggest concern seems to be for the welfare of locally owned businesses. Particularly cafes. I too would have that concern and, in fact Starbucks even admit to their tactic being total coffee domination of a local area. (See article below).

However, my view has changed slightly when I came across an article in Slate. In the article it is proposed that having a Starbucks open in your area is actually a good thing for local cafes for the simple reason that having a Starbucks creates a buzz (literally!) and draws people into the area for coffee. The report highlights that when people get fed up with standing in long lines for coffee they opt for the independent cafe next door. The independents also have a flexibility in what they serve and at what price, which a franchise like Starbucks don't. So when SB sell a tall latte for 3.00 euro, you could sell yours for 2.50 and still probably make a 300% profit! (Plus SB don't have loyalty punch cards like others do).

Admittedly the article is written from a North American context, but it's interesting and well worth a read if you have a couple of minutes:

Why Starbucks actually helps mom and pop coffeehouses

UPDATE: Starbucks is now open in Dalkey. You can read about my quick visit here.


Ali said...

I notice Eddie Irvine, Damon Hill and Bono (somr of the better known residents of Dalkey)haven't signed up yet!

Actually, I love the Dalkey area and I agree, they don't need a Starbucks. Interestingly, when we were in Stowe, Vermont at Easter we learnt that they dont have a Starbucks, KFC, McD's etc because of a 'preservation order' which says all establishments must be in keeping with feel and look of the area.

My personal feeling would be we slap one of those on Dalkey.

Cosmo said...

Yes, you make a good point, Ali. Don't get me wrong. I don't think Dalkey needs Starbucks. I don't think Ireland really needs it either! There are lots of good independent cafes and small chains of Irish stores. But I do also enjoy SB.

I do wonder, however, how many residents of Dalkey or Stowe (or anywhere "quaint") who don't want Starbucks in their backyard also make a point of not visiting their stores anywhere else in the world? Perhaps they don't and good for them!

Anonymous said...

People against Starbucks have you noticed 5 empty units in the town soon to be joined by a sixth? We desparately need the business Starbucks will bring to the town. Existing eateries can only benefit from the customers they will attract as they supply more varied menus which Starbucks customers may also use.The alternative to keeping Starbucks out is to leave that lovely old building standing empty to fall into dis repair and home to the pigeons that is of course if any of you objecting have an alternative business to go in there!

Cosmo said...


You are possibly right. Starbucks could very well foster an atmosphere for more businesses in the area, and if the article linked in the post above is correct perhaps an additional coffeehouse would do well!

I need to say that I am not particularly for or against the idea of Starbucks in Dalkey. I'm just interested in where the story is going and making a comment

If a SB opens I'll probably come down and visit it someday just to keep up my silly game which I started a couple of years ago.

IF SB doesn't open, can anyone recommend a good independent cafe in Dalkey that I could visit!

Anonymous said...

I'm looking forward to SB opening in Dalkey - nothing wrong with some competitive choice. Anyone know what the opening date is going to be?

My favourite coffee shop in Dalkey though has to be Mugs, down the opposite end of the main street. Nice and relaxed, although a bit small and can be a challenge getting your paws on one of the couches!

Cosmo said...

Hello Anon,

Thanks for your comment and recommendation about Mugs cafe. I'll be sure to get a coffee there next time I'm in Dalkey.

I don't know when Starbucks will open in Dalkey, but from previous experience I can tell you that once something starts to happen in the building (usually the sign goes up ourside first) then it will be about a week until it opens for business.

Enjoy your coffee experience at Starbucks, but don't forget places like Mugs. I bet you won't have to wait in a queue for ages at Mugs!

Anonymous said...

I'm indifferent i Think!! me and my friends go to Idlewilde and can't think of any good reason to change.. oh ye, they have a smoking courtyard. winner!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, who wants a kippie Starbuuk's in Dalkey we all love our locals like country bake and idle wilde (best coffee in the area by far) and hot staff too

Anonymous said...

No one is asking you to stop using Country Bake Idlewilde or Mugs, hopefully Starbucks will bring new customers to Dalkey who didn't know about Country Bake!They will benefit from the selection Margaret offers. There is room for all.Look at your town it needs new business so many closed shops it is getting very rundown.and talking about Kippie take a look at the sign over the new Thai restuarant how Kippie is that!!! Starbuck signs at least will be suitable for a heritage town that you should take pride in,not to mention the added jobs it will bring!

Cosmo said...

It looks like I definately need to visit Dalkey soon. Three great sounding places for coffee even before Starbucks gets there!

Anonymous said...

don't forget the lovely organic fairtrade coffee at the select stores on the corner it will give starbucks a run for its money anyday at least the money goes to the primary coffee farmers and not mr bush's hands!!!!

Cosmo said...

I fully support Fairtrade and buy it when available - not just coffee.

Even Starbucks has a Fairtrade certified blend you can buy, and it would seem, this is what they use every day as one of their choices for filter coffee to drink. (Cafe Estima)

Perhaps when I finally get to Dalkey to sample the cafes I'll stop off at Select at bring a bag home.

Anonymous said...

I've been living in Dalkey ... (how many of the anti-Starbucks folk do?) for the past 1/4 century. Years ago I actually e-mailed Starbucks in Seattle complaining that they had no coffee shops in Ireland.
That's right, I think Starbucks is A Good Thing, and not the Sign of the Apocalypse, as many over-ripe adolescents have convinced themselves it is.
Get over it. Starbucks is an asset to what is largely a dingey retail facade on Castle Street. Had my first grande drip there on Sunday - the interior is pleasant and stylish, the exterior a massive facelift on a building that's been derelict for decades.

Cosmo said...

Thanks for the tip off that Starbucks has arrived in Dalkey. I'll plan my visit soon and would gladly enjoy a coffee with the anonymous people of Dalkey.

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