Eat vs O’Briens – why is one thriving and one in administration?

By | July 14, 2009

The collapse of O’Briens (and Coffee Republic) is to a large extent not very surprising but it comes into acute focus since I go past an O’Briens and an Eat nearly every week in life at a majot UK airport.

The difference and the “DESIRABILITY” between the two of them couldn’t be more marked.  For that reason I wanted to discuss these two businesses within the context of the “Desire and Trust” video that we have in our Recession Report.  If you haven’t seen this yet make sure you sign up at:

The Coffee Boys Recession Report Sign Up Page

2 thoughts on “Eat vs O’Briens – why is one thriving and one in administration?

  1. Sharon

    Some time ago (before I opened my own business) I almost became an O’Briens franchisee. To gain an insight into the company, I worked at one of their company-owned stores for a while and went on their training course in Dublin for potential franchisees. When I was on the training course I was immediately struck by the difference between the lovely shiny theoretical company manual and the utter shambles I had seen in practice in the actual store. I couldn’t help but point this out (in fact it was like I was possessed or something as I just kept going on about it much to the annoyance of the trainer) and when I got home there was a letter saying that they didn’t think I would be a suitable franchisee. At the time I was annoyed, mainly because they couldn’t be bothered to speak to me in person and the expense I had incurred but later I realised that I had had a lucky escape. Your comments about ‘mediocre’ really summed up my experience with them so thank you!

  2. Post author

    Hi Sharon

    Very interesting reply – what I find is that when businesses reach a certain stage very often the quality of the manual and all the systems start to become much more important than the actual reality of the front line.

    The “front line” is tough and very often owners and senior managers have absolutely no interest in seeing exactly what is going on there – it is either “beneath them” (for graduates or new folk into the business) or “something they used to do” for managers who have escaped and are now in the comfort of a head office somewhere.

    It’s a mistake I’ve made myself in the past and it clearly seems to have happened with your experience of O’Briens.

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