There’s no doubt Canberrans love their coffee. A new cafe pops up every five minutes, and research published by Roy Morgan earlier this year found that 68 per cent of us had visited a cafe for coffee in the last three months. This puts Canberra ahead of Sydney and Melbourne when it comes to the caffeine consuming competition.
I should probably mention now that I am not a coffee drinker. I don’t particularly like the taste and I don’t see any point in trying to enjoy it.
Over the years I’ve worked with plenty of people who “need” coffee. I asked one of them what would happen if she didn’t have her coffee fix each day. Her reply was that she would get a bad headache without it and I thought, yeah see I don’t want to get to the point where I rely on something like that.
A few other people I’ve spoken to have said that coffee doesn’t really give them more energy or wake them up, they just drink it out of habit. I know most people reading this will nod in agreement with my former colleagues, however, as a non-coffee drinker I find this obsession incredibly strange!
After reading a reddit thread about how many coffee shops are in Braddon, it got me thinking about if there would ever be a situation in parts of Canberra densely populated with cafes, where businesses will start closing down because there is literally too much coffee.
If you look at all the cafes in Braddon that people would go to mostly to get coffee you’re looking at eight different places at least (Lonsdale Street Roasters 1 and 2, Chasing Mr Morris, 80/20, Elk and Pea, Sweet Bones, Elemental, Farmer’s Daughter, and Barrio), and then another handful of places that do coffee but without it being the main motivation for people going there (Autloyse, Debacle, Paleo Cafe, Frugii).
That’s a fair amount of coffee options over just a couple of streets. With every new cafe that opens, competition will increase in the area. While I think competition is usually a good thing, could there be a chance of Braddon becoming too overpopulated with coffee shops and cafes resulting in a whole lot of businesses closing down eventually?
You could also bring the parking situation into the equation too. If more and more cafes are opening in the one place, and more people are inclined to come to Braddon but there’s nowhere to park they’ll eventually stop coming and I think local small businesses are going to pay the price here.
I was chatting with a business owner (note: not a cafe or restaurant owner) in Braddon recently and they expressed a view that there needs to be some kind of government regulation on how many cafes can be in the one area as they’re concerned it would force businesses to close down. For many business owners, their shop is their livelihood – they lose that and they’re in a lot of trouble.
I tend to agree with them, however I think it would be a tough issue to regulate. Personally I would love to see more actual stores opening up in Braddon as opposed to more cafes. I like that the stores in Braddon are mostly locally owned and aren’t the big national companies like a lot of the stores at Manuka are.
As for the cafes, I hope there will always be enough business to sustain all of them but I worry that within a couple of years we’ll see quite a few closing their doors.