«Without my friends there’s a little bit of me, but with a lot of friends there’s plenty of myself» – lines from a soviet children’s song perfectly describes the essential meaning of co-operation in any business. You can be the author of most innovative solutions, to develop breakthrough technologies, but it’s only going to be possible to bring it to a state of «finished product» by going through a complex chain of cooperation with a number of business partners.
And this is true even for applied business initiatives of the microscopic, compared to the market standards, formats. Opening a small shop selling two or three positions of coffee beverages and about the same range of pastries (i.e. we’re talking about literally micro scale of business, not even SMBs), immediately causes the owners of such an enterprise to the need to acquire the suppliers of coffee machines, cups, coffee beans or ready-to-use blends , semi-finished products for baking, microwave oven — and so on and so forth.
Generally speaking, each individual element of the entire infrastructure of the object can be obtained separately, from a separate supplier. Nobody forbids you from doing so – go ahead, «hedging the risks», «putting eggs in different baskets», call it what you want, as long as it works out in this form for the company you’ve been run. If it works – thank God then, if it fails to do so — not to worry, there will be time to optimize your business without much damage, taking into account the scale of your operations.
But when it comes to huge chains or huge international companies and their landmark initiatives for expansion into new geographical realities, the situation is somewhat different. It is true that the rule of «little help from my friends» remains the same, except that the «quality-quantity» ratio of worthy friends turns out to be of a smaller magnitude. Usually there are one or two or three of them, not more — just like in real life.
Big business speaks its own language, and to find a worthy companion in the new region of the planet Earth is always extremely difficult for anybody. Knowing this firsthand from our own experience, we are well aware of what challenges face the advanced companies in terms of technological aspects of their business – such as Costa Express.
It is understood that «big shots» are undertaking such steps as new region overtaking after calculating all the risks and challenges to prepare the decisive assault in the same manner as any army’s staff does it. And then in addition to the level of experience of strategic thinking of «generals» and other characteristics a huge role is played by — correct! – the choice of allies! We emphasize the competent and reliable allies who speak the same language that you do and do not require to spend a lot of time and nervous energy explaining all the «whats», «hows» and, most importantly, «what purpose all of this serves».
And as it was said many years ago about one political force in the Soviet Union — «there is such an ally,» or a friend, if you want, when it comes to Costa Express’ plans to expand its chain of vending machines of the next generation on a global scale.
Of course, I know that Costa’s main operations is being implemented in the Russian Federation with the support of «Rosinter», and I wish this cooperation to continue to grow and develop.
But when you read about the ambitious plans of the company to develop its chain of super-vending machines (without any irony — they really deserve to be named as such), you realize that without an appropriate level of logistics support, competence in the coffee business and telemetry solutions with proven record of working in the Russian environment such a project in our country is simply doomed.
With all due respect to the really advanced telemetry of Costa Express, in Russia all its technical sophistication and perfection are in great need of a suitable support, a «skeleton» if you like. Only relying on it this «muscle» will be able to shrink correctly in order to inflict a decisive blow to the market. Finding similar supporting infrastructure is difficult in Europe, but in the vast spaces stretching from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, strangely enough, the company has someone to rely on.
Yes, once again we are talking about our most beloved entities in the world – about ourselves — RusHOLTS currently has all the components that make Costa’s plans quite a working reality in the time perspective «starting tomorrow.» It’s not that difficult for us, really. We have logistics for the supply of all coffee products, solutions for telemetry (way more advanced than anything out there today in Europe and even in America — ask WMF), Monitoring Center which has nothing to be compared with due to the absence of even close analogues. It allows us to process the data arrays on the coffee infrastructure coming from all over the country thanks to the coverage of large areas by reliable communication channels. And most importantly, our customers are filling stations chains with thousands of sales points, perfectly suited for installation of Marlow coffee bars. This successful combination of the client base, logistics infrastructure and IT-training is not present at any other Russian company.
The beauty of being professionally friends with us today — is a complete absence of the need to conduct anything close to the war for the market. There’s simply no one to be moved from their niches! It may seem a little too good to be true, but this is exactly what is necessary to ascertain when you look at our market today, from our point of view on it.
It’s just like that. Are there any companies interested in innovation for caterers in general and fast food in particular, and most specifically in the coffee sector? Yes there are. But there is not a single one that has passed all the way in its entirety, taking into account the world’s experience, relying on the latest developments, rethinking and adapting it all to our very specific realities in its own working practices.
In the end, who is a friend? Anyone who in difficult moment can help and suggest completely from the bottom of their heart, «what are you doing, I tried the same, so do not repeat my mistakes» — at least. As a maximum, it’s someone who goes — «Listen, man, I see you want to try — come along with me, I just happen to know how and I have something to help you, and I see that we have a shot at trying to do this together».
Therefore, I would be happy to collaborate with Costa Express in Russia. To the maximum degree.