coffee shop customer speaking (l) barista holding out coffee in mug (c) coffee shop customer speaking (r)

Alina Kovalchuk/Shutterstock @avidcoffeedrinker/TikTok (Licensed) Remix by Caterina Cox

‘So many be selling Costco muffins for $8’: Customer shares PSA about locally owned coffee shops

‘Coffee shops are like the entry point of entrepreneurship.’


Braden Bjella


A user on TikTok has sparked discussion after calling out locally-owned coffee shops.

In a video with over 258,000 views, TikTok user Dan (@avidcoffeedrinker) explains why a coffee shop being locally owned does not necessarily mean that it’s of higher quality.

“Assuming a cafe is good because it’s locally owned is why so many of them suck,” he writes in the caption.


Assuming a cafe is good because its locally owned is why so many of them suck

♬ original sound – Dan

Over the course of the video, Dan details his position.

“I think it’s time to stop pretending that locally-owned coffee shops are better than chains just because they’re locally-owned,” he says. “Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that Starbucks and Dunkin and Caribou produce objectively low-quality products, but so do a whole lot of locally-owned coffee shops.”

The reason behind this issue, he says, is easy to understand.

“Coffee shops are, like, the entry point of entrepreneurship,” Dan states. “If you are a bored CPA and you decide you want to make a change—‘I’m gonna open a coffee shop!’ Because it looks really easy on the surface. And it is really easy — if you know what you’re doing and you have prior experience, but a lot of them don’t.”

“They show up to their café, pour an under-extracted shot of espresso into a Red Bull, call themselves a visionary, go to their office and try to figure out a way to steal their employees’ tips,” he continues. “It’s very common.” 

He concludes by reiterating that many small coffee shops ride on the prestige of not being Starbucks, where in reality their coffee does not surpass the chain’s in terms of quality.

In addition to Dan’s claims, there were once many coffee shops all around the United States that were quietly owned by Starbucks. For example, if you ever drank at 15th Ave Coffee and Tea or Roy Street Coffee & Tea in Seattle, you were drinking at a Starbucks-owned establishment. These locations have since closed.

In the comments section, many users spoke on the truth of Dan’s statements.

“So many be selling Costco muffins for $8,” wrote a user.

“The amount of times I’ve tried to support local coffee shops and ended up wishing I just went to Starbucks is insane,” added another.

“Exactly! Local doesn’t mean quality or moral – it just means it’s not corp,” echoed a third. “We finally got a good local spot and I’m thrilled!”

The Daily Dot reached out to Dan via email.

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