Customer First: How The Costa Coffee Brand Is Standing Out In Qatar Hassan Jawad, Divisional Manager of Costa Coffee - Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia, explains the USP of the coffee brand in Qatar.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
"When it comes to coffee, we believe in putting the customer at the heart of everything we do," says Hassan Jawad, Divisional Manager of Costa Coffee - Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and Saudi Arabia, as he explains the USP of the coffee brand, which was launched in Qatar by The Jawad Business Group in 2003. "That is why we handcraft every cup of coffee, this means that we are able to tailor each drink to the exacting needs that our customers wish, whether that be an extra flavor, a bit more of our delicious chocolate dusting, or trying our new roast– Old Paradise St No. 19. Qataris have an eye for detail and like to be able to have coffee in the way that is right for them and our skilled baristas are able to deliver this for them. Qatar is a coffee loving nation, who has a passion for great tasting coffee. We see that customers are real connoisseurs and are looking for something new and exciting to try in their usual coffee. We thought Old Paradise Street would be the perfect addition to add to their repertoire with caramel and almond notes to give a new twist on their favorite coffee."
With respect to the Jawad Business Group's alliance with Costa Coffee, Jawad notes that the partnership came to be because his company wanted to join hands with a brand that had the same qualities that the Group knows customers love and value. "Costa has been voted the UK's favorite coffee shop brand for seven years running now, and is synonymous for great tasting quality coffee," he explains. "Costa is a British brand with a strong heritage customers here can relate to, there are a lot of synergies with Doha and London- we know that Qatar is also a nation of coffee lovers and so we wanted to partner with a coffee brand that values the care and quality taken from every bean roasted to every cup of coffee served." Jawad notes that Costa's heritage is built on the unique Mocha Italia blend used in the espresso, which is the base for all of the core drinks. Detailing out how Costa prepares the unique and signature coffee for every cup, Jawad mentions that every bean is roasted in Paradise Street, the Costa roastery in the UK, "but we grind and handcraft each coffee locally. We tailor the store environments to suit the Qatari customers, ensure the service style fits the local customer and select locations that we know are convenient or well-loved by all customers – where else in the world can you enjoy a cool iced latte overlooking the beautiful Doha Corniche..!"
Since staffing a key requirement in all customer-facing businesses such as Costa, the Jawad Business Group puts a great deal of emphasis on training. "All our baristas go through rigorous training before they serve their first cup of coffee to a customer. They will then train up to our Barista Maestro program learning thorough information about coffee and how to serve irresistible coffee at speed that leaves our customers smiling. We also run coffee ambassador workshops to teach our teams how to be an ambassador of Costa and run Latte Art workshops bringing out the artistic skills of our baristas to customize drinks to different customers. We even run masterclasses for customers for those who want to learn more about coffee and the secrets of becoming a great barista."
Part of being a barista, Jawad notes, is knowing how to turn Costa's great quality beans into an equally perfect cup of coffee for each and every customer, be it in Qatar or anywhere else in the world. "We know how Qataris like to travel and expect the same high-quality coffee from Costa, no matter where they are in the world," he says. "We, therefore, have a strong training program and standards on all aspects of the customer experience and coffee-making process from how to check the grinder, extract espresso the recipe for each drink and the crockery in which it is served so customers get the same fantastic experience each and every time they visit."
Narrating the Costa Coffee journey in Qatar and the lessons that the Jawad Business Group has learnt about the way a business based on customer satisfaction in Qatar, Jawad says, "Understanding our customers' needs is imperative and acting on them to delight customers at every step of their visit to Costa to ensure that they have a positive experience. Whether this means ensuring stores have softer seating to give a comfortable environment that customers want to relax and enjoy themselves in, greeting our regulars and remembering their favorite drink, to serving customers at speed when we know they are in a rush. Everyone's needs are different, and the trick is understanding each individual customer, and making sure you leave them smiling each and every time." Comparing Qatar to the other markets that lie under his supervision, Jawad says, "We see that across our markets while all our customers are coffee lovers, there are some unique variances, for instance Qatar and Oman, we see that customers tend to enjoy our delicious handcrafted cappuccinos and lattes as part of their mid-morning break, while in Saudi Arabia, our customers have a preference for an frothy treat in the evening. However, there are some universal trends, for instance, as we move into the hotter weather, we know that our customers across markets are looking for some refreshing and indulgent iced drinks to help them cool down."
About Costa's Qatar 2017 plans, Jawad is of the opinion that they will continue to focus on the customers and put their needs first. "We will look to continue our growth across Qatar to make getting a great cup of Costa coffee even easier, and bring new and exciting drinks to the market. Globally, the Costa brand plans to double in size over the next five years, and we look forward to greeting new and loyal customers alike with their favorite handcrafted drink."
Hasan Jawad Looks Into Costa's Key USPs
Quality of coffee
"Gennaro Pelliccia is the Master of Coffee for Costa, and is responsible for safeguarding the excellent standard of our coffee across the world. Our team of experts led by Gennaro who verifies the taste profile of every batch of coffee to make sure it's true to the original recipe. Due to his expert tasting skill, Gennaro's tongue was even insured for £10 million!"
Handcrafted- every coffee, every time
"We craft our coffee by hand by skilled baristas who train long and hard to deliver the best most personal service to our customers. Over 4,000 team members, craft one million cups of coffee per year at our 25 Costa Barista Academies around the world to ensure that the perfect handcrafted coffee is served in all our stores."
"We only ever use fresh milk used in all our coffees and not UHT, as we believe this give a superior flavor and texture to our coffees that customers love."
The Mocha Italia blend
"Having roasted and experimented with 112 different blends, our founders, the Costa brothers chose Mocha Italia for its rich and smooth taste. Mocha Italia proved to be so good, it's still the blend we use today. The recipe is a closely guarded secret. So closely guarded in fact that it wasn't until recently that it was written down. All we can tell you is it's an irresistible blend of Arabica and Robusta coffee beans that gives it a smooth, round and rich taste."
"Established in 1971, Costa is a UK brand with over 40 years' experience in crafting the perfect cup of coffee, we believe we have the passion, skills and dedication to deliver the best cup of coffee to all our customer around the world."