Modern life gives us an array of opportunities to go somewhere, physically or digitally, and have presented to us a huge range of choice in any category of interest we may have.
There is a paradox here.
Concentration of anything, attracts those who may be interested in purchasing to the location, whilst creating the hurdle for those hoping to make a sale of differentiating their offer from everyone else in the concentration.
This morning I was waiting for a meeting in a café in a local shopping strip that is little more than a concentration of cafes, bistros, and dining of all sorts. I was struck by the breadth of choice, and the resulting challenge of differentiation for the operators.
The café I was in is one of about 7 or 8 within 150 meters, all selling good coffee, a range of simple, tasty menu items, but all pretty much the same to a casual visitor. I wonder what would happen if one of them started roasting their own coffee, creating that intoxicating smell, and the opportunity to tell a story about the beans, why the tastes varied, where they came from, and how the skills of the barista influenced the outcome. They may also make a bit of extra margin.
The provision of a cup of coffee is pretty commoditised, buying roasted beans from one of the roaster/distributors is a transaction where the individual café has little leverage in the price negotiation, but there appears to be plenty of margin in the roasting business. Seems pretty obvious to me.