The story that has garnered the most interest on this blog recently has been the disappearance of neighborhood coffee shops, and in particular, the mass extinction of SoCal’s beloved The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf. Thank you to all the readers who sent me news that the CBTL at 9th and Wilshire in Santa Monica has now also succumbed. There is still one extant Coffee Bean in the Third St. Promenade, and I went in today to have a look. The lack of customers, and low inventory of food left me wondering what its future may be… What’s going on? I’m not certain, but perhaps there’s a clue here.
I believe that there is still an active and fairly vibrant CBTL at the corner of San Vicente and Barrington.
That is the original CBTL location, but at the rate Jollibee are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if they murder that one too…
I don’t understand what Jollibee are thinking. Granted the lockdowns have been brutal on revenue but SoCal is the home market for CBTL. Why close so many iconic locations? Will their $100 million investment all go to Asian market expansions? So sad.
Prior to the acquisition, Asia and Middle East were the biggest expansion markets for them (I remember reading that CBTL does really well in the Middle East, and a friend in Singapore posted images of her new CBTL and I was extremely jealous – they had giant swings in the store for customers).
I found these other articles on CBTL:
Apparently, it’s been losing money for a while (even before Covid19). When a company is acquired, it’s not all that surprising that the buyer reduces loss as much as possible in order to “turn things around.” Hopefully the Coffee Bean co-located with the SM Krispy Kreme will remain operational.
Jollibee’s also owns Smashburger, and the only one in LA I knew was on Venice near Sony … and it’s gone.
Is this a thing about leases? The two locations near Westwood/CC that disappeared, the rumors have been that the leases were up. One immediately flipped to Starbucks.
So I actually got a very nice reply from CBTL customer relations after asking about this and they said they will continue to evaluate their portfolio of company owned stores in CA and AZ over the next three months, and that more stores may be closed during that period… So not exactly uplifting but no sign that they are packing up shop in the US altogether at least. And the franchises like in Nevada and Hawai’i are not affected I guess.