Adaptation Strategies of Italian Cafes in Copenhagen

Marta Mapelli

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis investigates the level of authenticity of the Danes expectations around Italian coffee. A second goal is the understanding the role of managers as the motor of organisational change, and the strategies used to adapt to the customer expectations. These strategies vary in different Italian cafés, and are described as isomorphic, decoupling or loose coupling choices. A third goal was to provide a categorization of the level of authenticity of four Italian cafés in Copenhagen, and Italy, following the real-fake matrix proposed by (Gilmore & Pine, 2007). The analysis has been pursued through field research, investigating small Italian cafés in Copenhagen. Two Italian café managers have been interviewed, as well as one Italian coffee supplier. Eight coffee consumers have provided the sample to analyze the type of expectations around Italian coffee. Observations have provided additional data that helped the author to categorize four Italian cafés and their level of real or fakeness. As result, this thesis has highlighted the presence of 3 groups of customers. The unrefined consumers base their expectations around black coffee. They show preference for coffee chains and cannot describe the sensory experience around the coffee consumption. They have low standards and cannot recognize the coffee quality. The second group of customers, who has experienced Italian coffee in Italy, present a more refined taste. They are able to describe the differences among coffee products, however they do not consume nor expect to find Italian coffee in Copenahgen. They widely consume black coffee at home, and generally focus their choice of cafés based on settings and originality, instead of coffee quality. The third group is represented by sophisticated customers; these consumers know and appreciate Italian coffee, and actively seek it in Copenhagen. They can describe the sensory experience around Italian café, and know Italian brands, which lead the choice of cafés. The expectations around Italian coffee influence the strategies used by Italian café managers regarding how to adapt to these myths. Two café managers explain their use of isomorphic, loose coupling and decoupling strategies. Isomorphic choices are shown in the inclusion of typical Danish coffee on the menu. Loose coupling is adopted by giving a Danish look to pastries, while using Italian recipes and ingredients. Decoupling strategies are used when the manager does not offer the mainstream products expected by customers. The author has, finally, categorized four cafés following the real-fake matrix proposed by (Gilmore & Pine, 2007). Four Italian cafés represent four level of fake and real degrees; the data are based on an observation guide and interviews.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2017
Number of pages139
SupervisorsIda Lunde Jørgensen