There’s no secret South Africans love their coffee – with new stores popping up on a weekly basis across the country, both through independent and retail chains. Two of the country’s biggest players are leading the pack in the explosion of coffee in SA with Vida e Caffé and Shell announcing the opening of their 100th store in South Africa, in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch.
The Vida-Shell relationship started off in 2013, and after just two years the partnership has hit a significant marker, coming together to offer South African motorists a moment of sanity amidst the malaise of their daily commute. Vida introduced a new brand within its stable, known as Torrador, specifically to work within the majority of Shell sites, together with Vida stores in selected large Shell forecourt environments.
“With over 100 Vida e Caffé, and Torrador by Vida e Caffé, coffee bars at Shell service stations across the country, we have seen a very positive consumer response with robust growth in coffee, food, convenience retail as well as our fuel sales. Motorists are now becoming accustomed to getting their coffee fix at Shell whether in the Cape, Gauteng, KZN or at a Shell Ultra City somewhere in between. It’s been a great partnership so far, we’ve covered a lot of ground,” explains Shell spokesperson Yassier Abrahams.
After a great deal of research into convenience trends in the South African market, Shell identified the rapid emergence of the coffee culture in South Africa as a significant opportunity and key lever of its convenience retail strategy.
He adds, “South Africa has been identified as a key growth market for the business and building on Shell’s proud 113-year heritage in the market, Shell aggressively invested in upgrading its store formats and non-fuels offers over the past few years. After considering all potential partners both locally and globally, the Vida brand stood head and shoulders above competition given the critical role the brand has played in creating and establishing the coffee experience in South Africa. To meet the varied trading environments within which Shell operates, the Torrador sub-brand was then established, ensuring that the Vida experience is readily available across the Shell network.”
Vida e Caffé has had a big year in 2015. Alongside the 100 Shell stores, they continued their development of new stores that opened in corporate and mall environments, and opened 15 stores in Africa to date.
Explains Vida e Caffé CEO Darren Levy, “We spent the last 12 months focusing equally on coffee, food and beverage product innovation. October was our new food launch and this has contributed significantly to some fantastic growth in the past few months. As an organisation we have placed a high level of importance to the sourcing and roasting of quality raw materials that make up our coffee blend. To this end, we have been actively engaging importers, roasting experts and industry experts as we continue to update the taste profile in line with international and local trends. The coffee market is growing exponentially in SA and we have to do what is necessary to remain on top in a very competitive space. Given the developments in 2015, I think we’re well positioned to do that.”
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