Publix expanding Kahwa coffee partnership
- Florida-based Publix will feature popular Tampa Bay coffee roaster Kahwa at 130 Publix in-store cafes across the Southeast, according to the Tampa Bay Times. The news was announced by Kawha, but in an email to Food Dive, a Publix spokesperson said the store was unable to confirm it.
- Publix's in-store Kahwa cafes have been operating at the Bradenton and Winter Garden locations for a few weeks under a pilot program. The remaining stores will roll out by the end of 2018, stated Kahwa, according to Tampa Bay Business Journal. Kahwa will be offered in existing bakery-cafes.
- The cafes will be run by Publix employees who have been trained to use Kahwa’s equipment and technique. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Publix confirmed that a Virginia store would be next in line to serve Kahwa coffee, with Tennessee, North Carolina, Tampa, and Miami in the lineup as well. The locations will also sell Kawha K-cups and coffee beans.
Publix’s addition of Kahwa coffees in more of its stores instead of expanding its Starbucks cafes tells us a lot about the grocery's motives and where it is headed.
The supermarket currently has 73 Publix cafe locations and 21 Starbucks cafes. Although Starbucks cafes do perform well, they could be edged out by Kawha, retail expert Kevin Kelley told the Tampa Bay Times.
"What hurts when you’re putting a Starbucks in is that it doesn’t give your business anything proprietary," he said. "They’re kind of like McDonald’s. People want to support local."
Independent local coffee shops have been growing in popularity lately, stepping on the toes of big chains. Driving Starbucks stores out of Publix and replacing them with Kahwa gives the Florida coffee joint and Publix and opportunity to grow. By incorporating a local chain, Publix can support a smaller and local business and strike a chord with shoppers looking for options beyond Starbucks.
Many grocers have already adopted similar strategies. Whole Foods is a prime example. The organic grocer partnered with local, vegan burger shop Next Level Burger as well as California-based fast-food outlet LoCal to bring the restaurants in Whole Foods stores.
It's possible the success of these partnerships could drive big box chains like Target and Walmart to partner with small chains instead of big corporate restaurants to gain a local halo.
- Tampa Bay Times Kahwa’s next stop after 10 years in Tampa Bay? Publix
- Tampa Bay Business Journal Publix is putting cafes featuring Kahwa Coffee in more than 100 stores
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