We have established a strong café culture over the last 20 years or so in the UK. The high streets are thriving with a mix of coffee chain stores and independent coffee shops and cafes. The licenced trade was hit hard by the recession with as many as twelve closures each week, leaving people looking for alternative venues to socialise leading to a huge soar in coffee shop trade.
There are in the region of 15,000 outlets around the country where one can obtain a caffeine fix, from coffee shops in town centres to coffee 2 go stations in service stations. It is forecasted that by 2015, this figure will increase to 18,000. The huge expansion coffee chains have experienced over the last decade is undeniable, yet the independent coffee shop is also planting it’s feet firmly within the market place. There are around 5500 independents throughout the UK and approximately 5000 chain stores.
Coffee lovers are prepared to part with £2.50 upwards for a high quality speciality coffee, despite the economic downturn. In the UK, convenience takes preference over brand. A possible explanation as to why coffee outlets are opening within metres of each other. Areas in the South boast as many as twenty-four coffee shops along their roads. Ultimately however, quality overrules convenience and brand which is hardly surprising when disposable income is at an all-time low. Consumers demand exceptional quality for their hard earned cash and as a result have become increasingly more knowledgeable about coffee in reccent years. As our cafe culture has expanded so too has interest in the coffee consumers are spending their money on. Many large chains have highlighted the superiority of Arabica coffee beans, prompting curiosity from customers in the blends their favoured coffee shop provides. Also becoming of increasing significance is where beans are sourced, how they are grown, cultivated, processed and roasted.
Worth in an estimated £5.8bn per year, the UK coffee industry is booming and is set to grow further to in the next to years. It is forecasted that the industry will be worth a massive £7bn by 2015. With cafe culture at an all-time high, now is a great time to capitalise. An excellent coffee offering can be an asset to any business, not only cafes and coffee shops. Delivering the quality consumers are actively seeking ultimately relies on selecting a good coffee supplier as a partner. High performance machines, premium quality coffee blends and first class after sales service are key ingredients.