Back to English, goodbye Vente Latte!

November 08, 2012

Debenhams is trialing a simplified menu in their London’s Oxford Street location. Find out why this may be the start of a new trend.

Debenhams, a British high street department store, is on a mission - to clear up “coffee confusion." The store has simplified their coffee drink menu into “Plain English” in response to customer feedback, which revealed that more than 70 percent of coffee drinkers have experienced coffee confusion when eating out. We at The Lempert Report feel this is the beginning of a new trend for more straight forward menu names - and not just in coffee bars.  

At Debenhams Caffe latte is now ‘really really milky coffee’, cappuccino is a ‘frothy coffee’ and caffe mocha is a ‘chocolate flavoured coffee.’ Black coffee is ‘simple coffee, with or without milk’ and an espresso shot is labeled as ‘a shot of strong coffee.’ Rather than offering tall, grande, or venti (small, medium and large respectively), Debenhams is offering a “cup” or “mug.”

Their approach might help clear up the confusion in their stores, but what about the droves of customers that visit other coffee shops and are already familiar with the terms – will they need to re-learn this new simplified terminology - once again feeding confusion at the checkout?
Chrissie Maher, who founded the Plain English Campaign back in 1979, was quoted as saying. "It’s a great move so customers can make an informed choice." She leads the independent organization "fighting against jargon, gobbledygook and other confusing language, while promoting crystal-clear language" and is based in New Mills, Derbyshire, England.

Coffee is a start - but think about the nomenclature we use on cheeses, sauces and condiments, and especially gourmet foods. Consumers have had enough - lets take the guess work out of good food.
View the entire Debenhams press release here.