Second Cup house cleaning ought to focus on the coffee

It’s about the coffee. That’s a free tip from coffee drinkers as Second Cup once again tries to re-invent itself by cleaning house. Chief executive Alix Box departed Wednesday quickly followed by Barbara Mallon, the chief financial officer.  Garry MacDonald, who joined the Second Cup board of directors earlier this year, was named interim chief executive. Second Cup said Friday its first-quarter corporate revenue was down nearly 20 per cent from last year. There are many things Second Cup might try to become something less than last choice to many Canadians. But the consensus of Bayview Ave. coffee drinkers seems to suggest it should start with the coffee.  The coffee’s not bad, just unremarkable. And anonymous. In the end, Second Cup is the smallest and least well-financed of its competitors. Starbucks, Tim’s and McDonald’s all have more money and more locations. Locally, Second Cup has been stripped out of the community. The shop on the no-name corner at Laird and Eglinton is gone, so is the old bank cafe at Mt. Pleasant and Eglinton. The shop at 1595 Bayview is a jewel of a location but a quiet and unexciting place. It has not had any personality since the departure of dynamic franchisee Hong Ngo and a happy cast of coffee makers he assembled. Finding franchisees who can become the business is very difficult for a firm like Second Cup.

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