Coffee shops have come to dominate our high streets. According to Allegra’s World Coffee Portal, the UK currently has the largest market in the whole of Europe, with around 8,000 branded coffee shops getting cosy on our tiny isle.
They’ve become our go-to meeting spot as well as being the place we head to if we’re waiting out the rain or waiting for a long-delayed bus or train. They warm us up or cool us down and they cater to the needs of all ages – whether you’re a suburban teen heading to the McCafé for a frappe, a city-worker with a Starbucks espresso on the go or an OAP sitting in the quiet of a Costa.
Coffee shops are here to stay. So, anyone wanting to learn how to make their business thrive in the current climate should certainly look their way.
Particularly If You’re a Pub
At the same time as coffee shops have been booming, pubs have been struggling – in the last few years, we’ve seen steep rates of closure, with a quarter of the pubs which were open at the start of the century now lost forever, according to the Office for National Statistics.
While there are still 38,815 places to sink a quick pint in the UK compared to the 33,745 branded coffee shops in the whole of Europe (plus the many independent cafes and bistros) it’s clear that pubs have got to adapt if they want to survive.
The way in which a pub might need to adapt depends on the clientele they wish to attract. Some might specialise in rare craft ales to satisfy one niche, while others might host more events, from pub quizzes to gigs.
But if your pub wants to compete for the coffee shop crowd, who are less keen on alcohol, it needs to
Put Beans on the Menu
Coffee is already being blended into the business-models of many pubs as a bonus transaction: many sell coffees with hefty breakfasts, lunches and dinners as well as offering a sobering sip to drunken customers before they head home.
A step further might see a pub providing the perks and emulating the atmosphere provided by coffee shops, from the good, free WiFi connections to quiet spaces where laptop tappers can sit down and work.
On top of that, pubs need to wrangle with the matter of taste. Because taste matters to the consumers: a Barclays survey has found that while high street coffee chains have grown in number, coffee consumption by head in the UK hasn’t changed – suggesting that British consumers have replaced the cups of instant they once drank at home with the quality brews they can get from cafés, because they prefer the good stuff.
Are You Ready To Give Them The Good Stuff?
Whether you’re a big gastropub with enough money to employ a full-time barista to work a premium espresso machine or, like most pubs, you’ll get on fine with an easy-to-use bean-to-cup, it all starts with choosing the right machine for you.
Once you’ve done that, source some quality ingredients, from the best beans you can find to a range of milk (from organic dairy to dairy-free) and get brewing. Don’t overcomplicate your coffee – learn to get that black filter right first – but, once you’ve gained confidence, don’t be afraid to branch out and try some of those more complicated cups coffee shops offer, from macchiatos and cappuccinos to seasonal faves like pumpkin spiced lattés.
Finally, make your customers’ cuppas feel a little more special by investing in some interesting-looking ware to serve the black stuff in – whether that means delicate coffee cups or chic milk jugs, decoration can be a finishing touch which makes a brew feel just right.
Customers will cough-up for good coffee – so make yours the best.