If Starbucks Started South of the Border, It Might Be Panaderia Taza

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Aug 01, 2005
George Anderson

By George Anderson

If Starbucks had originated in Mexico City or even Phoenix, Arizona or El Paso, Texas, it might look a lot different than it does today. It might look like Panaderia Taza.

The coffeehouse whose name means “the cup bakery” is targeted to Hispanic customers.

Panaderia Taza, reports The Associated Press, sells Cafe Combate, a Mexican brand coffee, and its pastry case is filled with “conchas, Mexican sweet breads, and empanadas, triangle-shaped crust filled with fruit or custard.”

The pastries made on premises tend to be “more breadlike and less sweet than European-style pastries.” Coffee and drinks, such as cafe con leche (coffee with milk) and mezclado con azucar (sugar-sweetened coffee) are also on the menu and priced well below Starbucks’-like prices. A large coffee sells for $1.29 and cookies for 33 cents.

The president and chief executive officer of Masa Men, the company that opened and intends to franchise Panaderia Taza, Peter Conforto, is looking to grow by catering to the fastest growing ethnic group in America. “We just want to be ahead of the curve,” he said.

Lee Cohn, a managing partner with Masa Men, knows that there are plenty of mom and pop stores in Hispanic neighborhoods already doing what Masa Men are trying to accomplish with Panaderia Taza. That has not discouraged him, however, because as he sees it, “If we did this and we did it a little better than anyone else…raised the quality level and the service level, we could possibly build a chain out of this.”

Moderator’s Comment: Is the concept behind Panaderia Taza a winning one? Does it have potential beyond Latino communities?
– George Anderson – Moderator

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6 Comments on "If Starbucks Started South of the Border, It Might Be Panaderia Taza"


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Charlie Moro
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Charlie Moro
15 years 7 months ago

So there really is going to be life beyond Starbucks. Not only will this concept be successful within it’s niche, but as all things move forward, it will be absorbed into mainstream. Look at the Pan Pa Ya concept in Florida that is Colombian based and trying to create the same type of demographic targeted retail…there is room for all.

Mark Lilien
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

Successful retailing often depends on demonstrated execution skill, as well as a decent strategy. The concept sounds fine, but will the quality of the experience be high enough to attract the volume needed, given the modest price points?

Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
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Rochelle Newman-Carrasco
15 years 7 months ago

If executed properly, Panaderia Taza has a lot of potential. As has been said, it should resonate with non-Latinos as well as hit the sweet spot of second and third generation Latinos, many of whom were raised on conchas as opposed to on donuts and croissants. Here in Los Angeles, for example, the most successful retail bakery in the State of California, is Portos in Glendale. It’s a Cuban bakery and it has lines out the door. No doubt there is an opportunity for Panaderia Taza to create a warm, welcoming environment that achieves product and service excellence.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
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M. Jericho Banks PhD
15 years 7 months ago

Locations for Panadería Tazaare, I’m guessing, will be in less-expensive mid-scale areas not favored by Starbucks. Additionally, franchising will encourage hands-on management and customer care by owners. Their ambience could be more inclusive and friendly than Starbucks, especially if they maintain the Hispanic flavor of the stores by hiring Spanish-speaking young employees who really need jobs instead of the bored, disaffected Starbucks barristas who would rather be at home sitting by the family swimming pool.

Paul Castillo
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Paul Castillo
15 years 7 months ago

This “high-end” neighborhood panaderia will be a success if they can resist the need to only want to hit home runs. I believe success can be had by initially sticking to markets with a heavy concentration of 2nd, 3rd and 4th generation Hispanics who have found their way into the white-collar world. Not only will the concept ring more true within them, it will also be priced to allow the heart-strings to tug at the minds perception of success. While probably not going to put Starbucks out of business, this could most certainly own a growing niche.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
15 years 7 months ago

Consumers are in search of authenticity. This concept seems to be a break from the corporate-look Starbucks and could connect well with Hispanics as well as every other ethnic group. The ability to make all those promises about service and quality products come true will be the test towards their success.

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