Innovation in the Coffee Shop Industry

Retail coffee chains and independent shops continue to adapt to the changing coffee market. Discover new ideas for the future of the coffee shop!

The last year has seen a notable shift in how people wish to spend their lives, primarily due to the COVID pandemic. For decades, coffee shops have been at the forefront of changes in culture and community, providing meeting places for people to share their passion for new ideas and priorities.

Changes in consumer wants and needs always filter through into the coffee shop industry. As a leading coffee franchise, we at Esquires see first-hand how changing perceptions impact the layout and image of a shop and its offerings to loyal consumers.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at how coffee shops are adapting during uncertain times to meet fast-moving customer needs and desires.

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A New Consumer Routine

As many experts have pointed out, 2020 has less been about a dramatic change in how people live their lives but more of a speeding-up of transformations that were already happening.

Before COVID, people were already beginning to move towards more flexible working arrangements. As the phrase ’work from home’ has entered the shared consciousness, all industries have had to adapt to this significant alteration in people’s daily habits.

In the future, typical peak times such as morning or lunch might become less significant for a coffee shop. While these peaks will remain crucial (and will be further discussed later in this article), coffee shops must provide a quality service throughout the day, in keeping with the overall flexibility trend.

People working late in a coffee shop

Space to Work, Rest and Play

Changes in how people work and spend will filter through into all industries. While the coffee shop industry continues to grow, other retail stores’ struggles have been well documented.

As the makeup of high streets changes, we’ll likely see alterations in foot traffic for high street coffee shops, not just in terms of quantity but also demographics.

We increasingly see coffee shops transform their interior for a new, more modern purpose. Instead of merely being places for people to relax with a nice coffee or pick up something to go, shops are now becoming hubs for a range of activities.

With more people taking up freelance careers, coffee shops have adapted to offer informal office and meeting spaces. At the same time, they have also become community hubs, allowing clubs to meet and share their passions.

Coffee shops are slowly becoming venues where people gather, like a town hall for the modern age. This trend can offset any potential losses in foot traffic, giving people a reason to seek out and spend time at a particular coffee shop.

Going Digital

There’s no getting away from the importance of digital, even for bricks-and-mortar stores. With so many aspects of our lives now inter-connected in the online world, there are increased opportunities for coffee shop owners and consumers.

One of the most significant benefits that digital offers the coffee shop is speed and convenience. Nowadays, even the most ethical and traditional stores need to offer contactless payments for busy customers. Digital services also provide pre-ordering potential, offering an even more streamlined experience for busy workers and commuters.

As digital technology evolves, there are also new ideas entering the market. Subscription services have long-since become the norm for online services, and some coffee shops are experimenting with including these in their stores.

A coffee shop customer paying via their smartphone

The Boba Age: More Product Variation

The modern coffee consumer is becoming increasingly experimental. In particular, younger consumers are interested in high-quality, sustainable coffee drinks and are more willing to try different types and flavours.

Coffee shops have more opportunities to attract new customers when diversifying their coffee range. As a result, many large and independent coffee shops have introduced a range of unique drinks, such as:

  • Boba Tea
  • Dalgona Coffee
  • Vietnamese Egg Coffee
  • Turkish Coffee

There is also an increasing demand for healthy and caffeine-free alternatives. Coffee shops are increasingly attracting a more diverse audience with drinks such as smoothies and cold pressed juices, and this trend is likely to continue as the importance of coffee shops grows.

Harnessing Loyalty

One of the essential things for any coffee shop is turning new customers into regular ones. Loyalty is king when it comes to the competitive coffee market. With consumers being more adventurous than ever, shops need to develop fresh ways to cultivate repeated custom.

Coffee industry trends indicate that customers are looking for more than a simple product when choosing their coffee shop. Modern consumers also consider brand values, what the coffee shop stands for and how that’s reflected inside.

There is a growing movement towards sustainability in the coffee industry, which is being pushed by consumers. Coffee shops that seek to be at the forefront of this movement must reflect this, not just in their products, but also the shop itself.

Using sustainable cutlery, recycled furniture and other eco-friendly design features not only helps to attract the modern, eco-conscious consumer, but it also inspires them to become a loyal brand advocate.

A latte in a glass with milk pattern and spoon

Here at Esquires Coffee, we are proud to be one of the leading ethical coffee franchises in the UK, providing community-inspired shops with an independent, local feel.

If you’re interested in owning your own coffee shop, we have franchise opportunities available. Discover more here on our website or get in contact with our team for further information.


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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