This or That?

What makes you like a restaurant, café, or store? Would you rather go to get your coffee at a well-known place like Tim Horton’s, or a different place you’ve never heard of before? What makes you pick one or the other?

I know some people who would feel more comfortable going someplace they’re familiar with and know what to expect from them. No surprises. Then, some other people prefer to go somewhere new and exciting. I think for me, it depends on the day… sometimes I’m just craving a pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks or a double cheese burger from McDonald’s, then there are days when I’m in a different area or feeling adventurous and wanna try out something else. Anyways! What are some of the differences between one of those familiar corporate businesses and one that may be unfamiliar and family-owned? Atmosphere? Merchandise? Service?

Here’s an example: my mom and I often go to a place called Aladdin in Gatineau, where they serve coffee, pastries and sell all sorts of other delicious delicacies. This family owned business is so incredibly homey and welcoming. Any time you make an order, the servers take their time preparing it all. There may be pleasant music playing in the background… comfy chairs, cozy feels. Bottom line: you don’t feel like you need to rush out the door when you’re finished. I love places like this, where you can make memories. Then, other places I also love, like… Starbucks. You go in, order your drink and/or snacks, give them your name (a real or fake one), hear it being called out, get your stuff, and you’re out. Great for those days when I’m in a hurry. Predictable, reliable, efficient. The less-amazing part? They may know my name, but I definitely don’t feel at home or like I want to sit and relax for a while. Both amazing, but oh so very different.

Which kind of place do you prefer?

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