Starbucks v. The Bean: Who’s Doing Better Business?

Bean v. StarbucksKathryn Doyle Eric Borg and his dog Sam enjoyed coffee in front of The Bean last week.

Now that Starbucks and The Bean are squaring off on either end of their block on East Third Street, you might be wondering: which is doing swifter business? Are The Bean’s loyal customers walking that extra block to avoid the corporate coffeehouse? Or has the demure signage of the “neighborhood Starbucks” managed to win folks over?

To answer those questions, The Local stationed a reporter outside of the Starbucks on First Avenue, and another outside of The Bean on Second Avenue. They counted customers from 9 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. last Wednesday, and here’s what they found.

29 people walked into Starbucks.

43 people – and over a dozen dogs – walked into The Bean.

Siobhan Quinn said she chose The Bean partly because it accommodates Seamus, her Cavalier King Charles spaniel. “I like the owner, and it’s more neighborhoody,” she added. “There’s more of a community feel.”

Sitting on an outdoor bench with an English bulldog named Sam, Eric Borg said The Bean’s coffee was superior, as well. “I went to that Starbucks last week and the coffee tasted burnt for some reason,” he said.

Natalie Rinn The Starbucks on First Avenue. Our reporter had no luck getting any customers to pose in front of it.

Starbucks patrons were not as forthcoming as to why they chose the chain, but the handful that relented said it came down to convenience.

Gillian Barth, 27, went to Starbucks because it was on her way to work. Justin Langdon, 22, sheepishly disclosed he went to use a gift card. And Trevor Stadtmiller, 35, wrote off his choice as “an accident” on a morning when he was late for work. “I wanted to come to First Avenue to catch a cab,” he explained.

One customer described Starbucks as a “necessary evil.”

“The Bean used to be my very favorite place,” said Beth McCoy, 36, who lives across the street from Starbucks on First Avenue. On Wednesday morning, she was too rushed to walk one block west to The Bean. “Any other morning I would go there,” she insisted.