26 September 2019 | 14 Comments
During a recent trip to Kansas City, we enjoyed several delicious brunches. I noticed a trend at every restaurant: They each had their signature blend of coffee, all from a local place called The Roasterie.
As I learned more about it and realized just how many restaurants had their own blend, the more I admired the approach. I’d break it down into a few ingredients:
- It starts with a coffee company that people trust, a place that restaurants want to be associated with.
- Restaurants don’t want to go through the trouble of making their own coffee (just like they don’t do their own laundry for napkins and tablecloths–they’re in the food business, not the laundry business). The TV show The Profit displayed a few examples of this as well; Marcus loves connecting companies with co-packers.
- Restaurants do, however, like having things that are unique to them–things you can’t get anywhere else. Especially if they are part of the process of selecting the blend, potentially creating it so it matches the types of food they serve. It shows that they care about the things they serve.
- With such a wide variety of signature blends, customers have a reason to try each restaurant’s coffee. It’s also an opportunity to build customer loyalty if you have a customer’s favorite blend.
I’m not a coffee drinker, yet even I was curious about the differences between the blends!
While it’s somewhat similar to having your company logo printed on a water bottle, I think it’s a different level when a company is part of the selection process to create a one-of-kind item. So I’m struggling to think of examples from other types of products and businesses.
Perhaps one example–in a way–are products with intellectual properties. Like, the game Love Letter has a variety of IPs associated with it (including some that are out of print–I’m looking at you, Lord of the Rings Love Letter!) Each version of Love Letter has slight differences above and beyond the art, which I think is important–it doesn’t resonate the same way if you just slap an IP and some movie stills on the cards.
One interesting element about the Roasterie approach is that it’s an exclusive that doesn’t feel like an exclusive. Sure, at Jamey’s Crab Shack, you can only buy our special Jamey’s Crab Shack Old Bay Roasterie Blend. You can’t get it at Biddy’s Kibble Hut. But why would you want to if Biddy has his own blend for you to try? Plus, you can always buy every blend directly from The Roasterie (another win for the restaurants, as they’re making passive revenue from those direct sales).
So the parallel to the board game world might be if game stores or conventions could create their own promo packs based on specific cards they select from the publisher. Even then, I’m not quite sure it works, because those same cards are already in the game (just like the coffee beans at The Roasterie exist before they start mixing them into signature blends). Why would a game store want a signature mix of Scythe encounter cards when all of those cards are already in the game?
There’s something here, but I just can’t put my finger on it. What do you think? Can you think of other examples (real or hypothetical) of “signature blends”?
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