Nestlé Canada opens a coffee hangout that doesn't sell coffee

Nescafé Coffee Taproom targets millennials looking for simpler java options

Nestlé Canada just opened the doors on a café in downtown Toronto as part of a marketing effort for Nescafé Sweet & Creamy instant coffee sachets.

The Nescafé Coffee Taproom opened Friday in the city’s hip Queen Street West neighbourhood and offers the enticements typical of most coffee shops—free wifi, comfy seating—but without some of the other less charming attributes such as overly expensive coffee, long lines, complicated menus and condescending baristas.

The café is an attempt to raise awareness and drive trial with younger consumers, said Deana Zaghloul, senior marketing manager, Nescafé.

“The general feedback we have received from millennials is that what they don’t like about the coffee shop experience is that it can be daunting,” said Zaghloul. Many millennnials are just getting into the coffee shop lifestyle and want the experience to be simpler and less expensive, she said.

To get into the Taproom, consumers need to scan a Sweet & Creamy sachet, with street teams nearby handing out sachets to anyone interested.

Once inside, customers simply grab a cup, head to one of the water taps and mix up their own cup of Nescafe Sweet & Creamy. In another nod to popular coffee shop stereotypes, Nescafé created 50 different cups with common names written on them—though misspelled. (The misspelled name cups can also be bought online.)

The campaign comes after a strong performance for the Sweet & Creamy brand in 2016. According to Nestlé, sales doubled last year and market share in 2017 has risen to 4% from 2.1% a year ago. Last year, the marketing focus was on campus sampling and social, said Zaghloul. The Coffee Taproom is an effort to build on that and actually let millennial consumers enjoy a coffee shop experience while also enjoying Sweet & Creamy.

The Taproom will be open daily until June 28 from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m.

While Nestlé is calling it a pilot project, it’s also asking for suggestions for where the Taproom will go next. But, Zaghloul said further iterations of the Taproom experience would depend on how successful this first effort is.

Aside from the street teams handing out Sweet & Creamy sachets, a video introducing the Taproom has been posted to YouTube, influencers were invited to visit, and paid social media, including Instagram and Facebook will also begin soon.

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