Weekend back, we wanted to step out to sit at a cafe (the weather was truly very nice), sip at coffee and get some work done. Our usual haunt which we use for change of environment is the set of shared offices by Regus. But, this was a Sunday with Regus shut. Even otherwise, a bunch of our meetings with vendors, potential associates happen in coffee shops.
Being a start-up, paying for wi-fi anywhere does hurt. In Bangalore, one would expect free wi-fi to be available at many places, and most of all towards the city centre. We went to try our luck at the Cafe Coffee Day flagship store Coffee Day Square near UB city. As we sat down and ordered coffee, we also asked about wi-fi. We were told that it is a paid service at Rs 27/hour. That is sort of steep, isn't it? But that was not the end of it. One should have perhaps asked, but later when the check came in, a black-cuppa-joe is for Rs 135. That sounds incredibly high priced to us.
On recommendation from friends, because we posted on FB, we propelled ourselves to Matteo on Church Street / Rest House Road. Last time I had been there, service completely sucked. Well, that has not improved too much yet...but the coffee isn't too bad at Rs 50 a cup, with free wi-fi. The cafe is divided into three sections, the outside, then the regular inside and deep inside which reminds one of a European taverna converted to a cafe. The centre, has a rectangular bar with electric plug points to get laptop juice. The only glitch with this ersatz taverna is that there is no alcohol (not even wine) available. But, surely a good place with energy, decently priced coffee (and there is a bunch else to eat as well) and free wi-fi.
Now, if Starbucks did make an entry into India (if ever), and opened up multiple stores they will thrive based on free wi-fi. But, of course the usual conditions of decent pricing apply! As, I write Starbucks and Tatas have signed a deal for the former to start sourcing from the Tata coffee estates...maybe this will get Starbucks to ride on Tata's real estate clout and perhaps start showing up around Westside and Croma stores.
Loyalty Mis-management: Barista sells (happens only in India) a loyalty type card for Rs 100 which allows you to get a 10% discount at all its outlets. Or so the card says. But, the card gets declined at the Barista outlet at Bangalore airport as I found out to my disappointment. Funny thing, this outlet does not even show up on Barista's web site. Writing to Barista of course yields the same result as writing to any retailer in India. Rude radio silence. To me, that implies either the Barista outlet is fake or their claim on the loyalty card is fraudulent. I will let you decide which.
CWG Delhi: For the first time ever, I saw a waterlogged overpass in Delhi. Also drove through the cantonment area to realize a city can still be run well, and it reminded me of the way Delhi used to be during my growing up years. Neat, organized and beautiful!