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