Starbucks&x27 biggest competition isn&x27t Dunkin&x27 Donuts — it&x27s your neighborhood hipster coffee shop

starbucks biggest competition is not another chain of coffee shops.

rather than worry about the impact of dunkin’ donuts or tim hortons, the coffee giant is keeping an eye on trendy independent stores, according to chief financial officer scott maw.

Reading: Local coffee shops vs starbucks

“We don’t yet see any competitors or even a smaller group of competitors influencing our business at any point,” Maw said at the UBs Global Consumer & Retail Conference on Thursday. “But what we’ve recognized…is the collective group of independent coffee shops that are doing much of what Starbucks has done so well for so long.”

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in other words, promoting dunkin’ donuts won’t hurt starbucks sales. However, the rise of trendy neighborhood stores has the potential to drive customers away from Starbucks in the long run, especially if Starbucks can’t compete when it comes to service and the environment.

“It’s that third-party vibe, it’s a comfortable place to be, it’s a next-level coffee experience,” Maw said. “They’re not taking part [of] us, but what we know is if we don’t get our service levels right and customers don’t engage in the right way, they now have options.”

Concerns that independent coffee shops will attract Starbucks customers are amplified by the chain’s growing ubiquity, Maw said.

widespread popularity can destroy the image of a fashion brand. As Starbucks opens more locations, maintaining its reputation as a coffee snob becomes more difficult, especially relative to independent chains.

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“it would be easy for people to forget that we still source, roast and deliver the highest quality coffee you can get anywhere in the world,” maw said. “it’s as good as it gets, but for customers…they might not associate that with starbucks because we’re everywhere.”

The company’s solution has been to invest in roasteries and the reserve brand, which provide a more unique Starbucks experience.

Starbucks plans to open 20 to 30 roasteries, which are tourist-friendly megalocations that roast coffee on their premises and serve pricey drinks like the $10 nitro cold brew float. In addition, the company will open 1,000 reserve stores, serving small-batch coffee and in-house brewed foods, and will add reserve bars at 20% of all locations, allowing them to serve more exotic blends made with a wider variety of methods.

Concerns that Starbucks could lose its edge over independent coffee shops is currently a top concern for the company. In April, CEO Howard Schultz will step down to focus on the reserve brand, which he believes will have a “halo effect” across all Starbucks locations.

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