Bad Ass Coffee Changes Name at California Store

At we followed the rise and fall of the Bad Ass Coffee franchise in our town. To see the original posts click here.

I know we've talked about this subject ad nauseum but I think it's a good example of how important packaging is to people. I think when they came up with the idea for Bad Ass Coffee it was a way to rebel against the norm, stir up some controversy in the hopes that they would get some free publicity from local papers and blogs. They were trying to be cute with the name, saying that it didn't mean what everyone thought. The trouble is, if you asked a hundred people on the street what the name "ass" means, 99 of them would say the lower back part of a human torso. So before a customer ever takes a sip of their coffee, the thought of a rear end is already on their mind and weakening the strength of their appetite. The name might actually harm the business of other nearby restaurants. The owners need to see how their business looks from the customers point of view. They should think about someone holding a cup of their coffee walking down a public street or walking into a place of work. When someone has a cup of Starbucks, it's almost like a status symbol. It says this person has the money to spend $3-4 for just a drink. It says this person drinks the top of the line coffee, a company that trains and pays it's employees well and there is little public controversy following the brand. What does someone holding a Bad Ass coffee say? It says that this person wants everyone to think that they are tough. That they do things that put them at odds with the law. That's fine, I have no problem if that's what you want everyone to think. To each his own. But to a business that brand identification limits the number of customers who will find the product acceptable to consume. I can't imagine a school teacher walking into a classroom holding a cup of Bad Ass. What about a priest or nun? A politician, car salesman, lawyer, ceo, accountant, etc? Maybe some of those people would, but a lot wouldn't. By the time the barista has a chance to explain what the Bad Ass is really about, the customer is long gone. When I think about Bad Ass Coffee, it always reminds me of this scene from Pulp Fiction.

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Lise M said...

Oh man. I'm not surprised that his business is up since he changed the name. I don't think I'll ever forget working in Indianapolis and seeing the sign go up for the new "Bad Ass Coffee". We had so many reactions (mostly bad) from customers at Bed Bath and Beyond across the street. Of course, I felt I had to try it, but only 6 months after it opened. I had to get my courage up. Not everyone can look past a name to try a product.

Anonymous said...

Bad Ass Coffee is NOT a "cute" name. If you'd have done your research, you would know it is not a part of the anatomy. It is about the donkeys in Hawaii that would haul the coffee down the mountain and were called "The Bad Ass Ones". Hence the name!

Also, if you think Starbucks is a status symbol, then you need to find better things to be a "status" of. Starbucks is the WORST coffee on the planet. They've taken cheap, crappy beans over-roasted them to take out the bitterness and made it into a latte (or what have you) adding sugar & milk to hide the bitter taste. Bad Ass Coffee's coffee is high quality coffee. Kona coffe is a world class coffee. They have their own blend and it is NOT over-roasted. And even Starbucks started trying to sell it in order to keep up with what is truely a status symbol in the coffee industry. Go buy a bag of Starbucks and a bag of Bad Ass Coffee, open them up and look at the beans. Bad Ass has full beans, not pieces and other crap roasted in their coffee.

Maybe you should look into Blue Mountain Jamaica and other world class coffees to see what a status symbol really is, which would never be seen in Starbucks.

Also, how would you know if business was up because of a name change? First of all it wasn't a name change at all, they are not the same owner's. Second, one owner doesn't have the sales records of a previous owner, so there is NO way to tell if the sales are up or down. They are in the same location, people are creatures of habit, so the new owner would not attract any more customers. Unless his pricing was FAR below, which would mean a lower quality coffee. Also, the economy is in the toilet and EVERYONE'S numbers are down 20 to 60% depending on the geographics. The probability of the numbers being up is so low, I wouldn't believe it for a second.

So, when you think you know what your are talking about, do your research!!! Maybe you would look smarter and your readers would get correct information.

Salem Man said...

You've just made my point for me. You can have the best coffee in the world but people won't buy it if it's not branded well. Even with the inferior beans, there is a line of cars at the Starbucks.

Anonymous said...

This is something to think about:

No one cares where the name Starbucks comes from, it's not offensive to anyone.

If you have to go into a long description (and you do every time) defending and explaining the origin of your business name, then you might want to reconsider.

Anonymous said...

I never went to this place, because of the name. I drive by that location at least twice each day. I no sooner go to an establishment with that name than I would to one called the F*cked Up Coffee Company. No wonder they went out of business

Anonymous said...

Bad Ass Coffee Rocks! It's a shame I no longer have one near my home, I didn't realize all the prudes were so concerned with the name.

Anonymous said...

Get over the name!! It's very good coffee ...... Bunch of F... up Californians no wonders the state is going broke