Coffee Shop Trends: 2021

2020 has been a year like no other for every industry. What kinds of changes and trends can we expect to see in coffee shops in 2021?

With each new year, there comes new trends and developments in the coffee shop industry. How we enjoy coffee, and the coffee shop environment changes every year as different priorities emerge. 2020 has been a year of resilience and innovation as businesses have had to contend with lockdowns and further restrictions.

As an ethical coffee franchise, we believe it is important to stay on top of the latest industry trends to keep track of customers’ developing behaviours and needs as well as new sustainable opportunities. There is no doubt that the coffee shop experience has looked dramatically different in 2020 as businesses have had to adapt to COVID-19. How will these unprecedented times affect upcoming trends, and what kind of direction can we expect to see in 2021?

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Innovation and Adaptation

The future is uncertain, and it is unclear whether the coffee shop experience of previous years will come back any time soon. Gone are the days of joining friends for a spontaneous cup of coffee in your favourite café. The familiar sight of a bustling coffee shop has been replaced by a new normal.

Businesses were forced to adapt rapidly if they had any hope of survival. In the coffee shop industry, new technologies and innovation had an important role in the ensuring service was given to customers in a way that adhered to new safety guidelines.

This includes the introduction of things that we may have been familiar with in other retail areas but had not yet made their way into the coffee shop experience.

This involves things like click and collect and table ordering. With customers being able to use their phones to navigate the journey to purchase coffee easily and remotely, staff and customers could be protected while the business continued to operate.

The introduction of new technologies and adapted processes will continue into 2021 as businesses get back to full operation.

Continued COVID-19 Safety Procedures

One trend we can expect to see in the coming year is the continued adoption of strict safety protocols. With the instalment of hand sanitiser stations and dine-in restrictions, businesses must continue to keep their customers and staff as safe as possible.

As the virus continues to disrupt our daily lives, these safety procedures and further implementations will likely remain a fixture of the new coffee shop experience. Even with hopes of a vaccine on the horizon, safety will still remain a top priority.

A coffee shop employee wearing a face mask and guard

Supporting Local Shops

Another trend to come out of the pandemic that is expected to carry into the new year is more people supporting local shops and smaller businesses in their community. With everyone struggling in 2020, there has been a collective attitude to support the shops closer to home to help them survive.

Local coffee shops have historically been social hubs for community. As we move into 2021, we will see a continued trend towards more of us investing in our own communities.

In line with this, we can expect to see a trend that gets people back into coffee shops, providing a taste of the classic coffee shop experience that customers love so much.

2021 will see people renting tables or booking desks to work from as offices remain closed and working from home continues. Renting a coffee shop desk for working gives individuals an opportunity to have a break from the monotony that often comes with working from home and helps to change up the routine. This new trend will give people a chance to socialise in safety and support local communities, while also enjoying their favourite brew.

Coffee Subscription Boxes

Subscription boxes have seen a steady rise over the last year, thanks to the in-person shopping limitations. This is no different with the coffee industry; coffee drinkers enjoy drinking quality coffee at home, and many coffee shops are beginning to take advantage of this with personalised subscription boxes and coffee deliveries.

The coffee subscription box trend caters to customers’ increased interest in quality at-home coffee experiences and will continue to take off in 2021.

Environmentally and Socially Conscious Coffee Consumers

This trend is one that becomes more relevant and wide-spread with every passing year. More and more consumers are becoming concerned with where products come from and who has had a hand in producing them.

Consumers are holding brands accountable for what they see as moral failings when it comes to business. Many are conscious of the environmental impact of the coffee shop industry and will continue to ask questions about sustainability and waste.

The wake of the pandemic has also exposed more people to larger social issues. Consumers are becoming more aware of the coffee industry’s supply chain and the farmers who grow the coffee. 2021 will see a rising trend towards coffee drinkers desiring a good environmental and social story attached to their beloved cup of joe. They want to know they can trust their coffee shop and all the processes that happen behind the scenes.

A table in a coffee shop with a plant and French press

Coffee as a Health Drink

As consumers continue the trend to move to more health-conscious ways of living, many are considering how coffee can be a healthy addition to their day.

Supplements and new additions to coffee will see a boom in 2021 with the rise of the turmeric coffee and other healthy options that are starting to feature on coffee shops’ menus.

Cold coffee options are also being viewed as healthy alternatives to fizzy drinks full of sugar. 2021 may see the continued uptake in customers opting for cold coffees as well as traditional ones.

Growth of International Speciality Coffee

Social media and coffee go together so well, with Instagrammable coffee shop shots and online recipes often sought after. Social media has had a new role in the coffee world this year as more people are exposed to a wider variety of international coffee types and flavours.

During lockdown, there was a boom in coffee-related videos as people were seeking out new coffee experiences at home.

As it is still ill-advised to travel – something that will likely continue into 2021 – a taste of other cultures’ cuisine and coffee is becoming more desirable. Dalgona and Turkish coffee were particular internet sensations; 2021 will see customers desiring these popular drinks or new menu items inspired by them.

A dalgona coffee in a glass

According to one national survey, visiting coffee shops and other similar places was one of the things British people missed most during lockdown. The coffee shop has become ingrained in our culture; we can expect to continue to see the customers’ support for the industry throughout 2021 as they reach for the comfort and familiarity that a good coffee shop can provide.

As a well-loved community hotspot, buying a coffee franchise is a brilliant opportunity to start a thriving business. Despite the difficulties of 2020, there are plenty of coffee shop trends to harness in 2021! To find out more about joining Esquires Coffee, get in touch with our team today.

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About the author - Jack Anderson

Jack has been working in the franchise sector for over 12 years and is our in-house guru on all things business! Jack is also a keen hiker and can be found in some of the UK's best walking spots on the weekends.

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