Starbucks steals customers from coffee shops

The coffee shops at the RUG are suffering from the success of Starbucks.

The American coffee chain is so popular that it is luring customers away from the Coffee Corners, C-bars, and Micaffès in the city centre. ‘The arrival of Starbucks means that people frequent other coffee shops in the city centre less’, the department of Food & Drinks concludes in their latest customer satisfaction survey.

Although the figures presented in the survey are not very clear, they do indicate a trend: in one year, the number of visitors to A-café, C-bar, and Micaffè have dropped, while Starbucks has attracted more customers. However, the Micaffè branch at Zernike actually did better than the year before.


While the arrival of the American coffee chain a year ago was heavily criticised, many people drink its coffee. The Starbucks is not yet drawing more visitors than the coffee shops at the university, but the RUG businesses are suffering from the competition. In 2014, the A-café at the Academy building had a mean visitor regularity index of 0.31. A year later, it had dropped to 0.24. The visitor regularity index at the C-bar in the Harmonie building dropped from 0.51 to 0.23.

Out of the nearly 3,000 interviewees, approximately 13 per cent of the students say they visit the Starbucks at least once a week, while 20 per cent of the students go to the Academy building once a week and 15 per cent visit the Harmonie building with that degree of frequency.

No coffee

The survey also shows that the majority of students never visit any of the coffee shops mentioned. Approximately 70 per cent never go to Starbucks, A-café, or Micaffè. The survey does not say why. It could be that these students do not drink coffee, choose the cheaper option of coffee from vending machines, or perhaps prefer a competitor in the city centre.

The cafeterias and restaurants are too expensive for the university. Because of this, the Food & Drinks department is being reorganised, and the cafeterias will be contracted out. How this will be done remains unclear for now. Earlier plans were withdrawn following criticism from the University Council.


This infographic about coffee consumption was published in the paper UK Magazine from March 2015.

This infographic about coffee consumption was published in the paper UK Magazine from March 2015.