CCD stands for “Cafe Coffee Day” in Mumbai (also called the same in the other metros, I guess). For a fairly long time, it was the dominant coffee shop brand because of its decent quality, “no disturbance” policy, and market penetration with a number of shops in any large metro.
I have frequented CCD for a fairly long time as well, though occasionally I have shifted to a Barista or a Gloria Jeans or a Costa Coffee outlet due to their different coffee tastes, ambience, or availability. I have also seen that most folks always ask for the nearest outlet of CCD, so that was a commendable consumer pull built by CCD over the past several years.
Apparently, the CCD story is not going that well based on my recent personal experiences. For one, they are now coming under serious competitive pressures – many global coffee shop chains are coming into India, like DiBella from Australia and of course, Starbucks. The foreign brands have very low market penetration as of now, so there may not be an immediate impact on CCD. But that situation may not last long.
Another serious matter for CCD is its deteriorating quality. There is not much of a difference in prices – CCD costs only some 15% cheaper than a Gloria Jeans or a Starbucks for a like-to-like comparison with similar quantities of coffee. I am finding that the other coffees are tasting better – especially the BRU World Cafe coffees which are similar in pricing to CCD with a better ambience in their outlets.
Even worse, CCD outlets are not handling loyal customers well – one day, the Capuccino was not hot at all, and today, they ran out of Equal sugar in their Infinity 2 Mall outlet which has one of the highest traffic of footfalls I have seen in the Mumbai suburbs. The explanations offered for the coffee not being hot or for not having stock of Equal (or Sugar Free) were weak and was not communicated to me in an apologetic manner.
For a brand to sustain, loyal customers have to keep coming and buying the product. Today I decided that I will stop drinking coffee at CCD outlets. I need my coffee to be piping hot with sugar free supplied along with it, and all the other coffee outlet brands have no problem in meeting my requirement which is only but natural.
The other supplementary point (though not a deciding one) is that the pastries in CCD are very sweet, with lots of sugar in them. The other brands of outlets are more sophisticated and offer even sugar-free chocolate cake, including a completely sugar-free capuccino like in the BRU World Cafe (without the need to add a sugar free sugar).
It is critical for CCD to re-invent themselves. I am proud of them since they are a completely Indian-built brand, but I am afraid they are losing their direction, passion and motivation to compete for coffee drinkers (who happen to be somewhat finicky).
10th Feb 2013