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Baltimore Coffee Shops the Latest Affected By Widespread Disloyalty

Baltimore coffee shops unite for disloyalty program

At Lamill Baltimore. Photo courtesy of the Four Seasons.

Disloyalty is sweeping the East Coast. First was Boston, then Philadelphia, now a collegial group of specialty coffee retailers in Baltimore has created a disloyalty card program.

The punch-card system gives patrons a stamp for ordering drinks at several of Baltimore’s high-end coffee bars, including Lamill CoffeeCharmington’sDooby’sHigh GroundsPitango Gelato, and Sidewalk Espresso. Once patrons accrue stamps from each shop, they get a drink on the house at any of the participating locations.

The disloyalty concept is widely credited to former World Barista Champion Gwilym Davies, who executed a program among some of London’s best coffee bars in 2009. Ten coffee shops in Boston revived the concept this Spring, and Philadelphia had four shops come together earlier this year for a “hyperlocal” revival. As a source from Lamill recently told Baltimore Magazinethe goal to connect consumers to more independent shops, but also to build a sense of community among the shops.




I’m afraid I don’t understand the concept very well. Why is it called a “disloyalty” program when the punch cards are for awarding customer loyalty to the whichever shop offering it?

Sonny A.

The idea is a spin on the cafe standard of “loyalty” cards, instead of getting stamps at one particular cafe you visit, you can get them from multiple cafes. The idea is to break the sense of cafe loyalty some customers have to their cafe, which is okay, but I wouldn’t want my friend who owns his own cafe to suffer because my customers will only drink my coffee, therefore never visiting his shop. In a nutshell it’s about sharing the love and the coffee community with everyone.

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