Few establishments have seen the level of success achieved by coffee shops. Once primarily seen as a stop-and-go location, coffee shops are now an intrinsic part of British life which many of us turn to for both working and social occasions.
The UK coffee shop industry saw growth for 20 consecutive years* before the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a growing audience encompassing all segments of modern society.
But how have coffee shops managed almost unprecedented bricks-and-mortar success in the modern digital age? As one of the fastest-growing coffee chains in the UK, we’ve been able to experience this sensation first-hand.
Join us as we take a look at some of the reasons the humble coffee shop has become such a popular location.
Ethics and Sustainability in Coffee Shops
An emotional foundation has always been one of the key successes of any coffee outlet. The history of coffee shops is full of iconic moments where these establishments have allowed new beliefs to thrive, and that tradition still carries through in the modern era.
While the ideas may have changed, the coffee shop remains one of the best places for passionate and often under-represented people to gather and discuss their ideas and beliefs, especially when the establishment shares those ideas through their ethics.
The most successful coffee shops have a range of ethical beliefs that underpin their business and promote them through their actions in the community and further afield.
Here at Esquires Coffee, we are hugely proud of our ethical values that have been honed and shaped over our many years of experience in the industry. We also work hard to ensure that these beliefs are seen across all our stores.
Our coffee shops are built around the use of high-quality and responsibly-sourced ingredients in everything, from our coffee to cold-pressed juices and artisan food. We proudly promote these ideas of equality and fairness through our actions, which helps create a customer base that shares our passions.
Sustainability in the Coffee Shop Sector
Becoming more sustainable is of huge importance to all industries. However, it’s coffee shops that have primarily led this movement on the high street. For many years, we at Esquires have understood and promoted that message of sustainability on a local level, which attracts a growing number of environmentally-conscious people to our stores.
The Many Reasons Why People Go to Coffee Shops
Ethics and sustainability play a massive role in attracting customers when it comes to food and drink choices. However, the coffee shop offers so much more beyond that, making it a truly unique location.
A Relaxed Social Space
One of the primary reasons why coffee shops have become so popular over the last decade is their relaxed and open feel. This feeling is especially prevalent when you compare coffee shops to other competing locations, such as restaurants, pubs and fast-food chains.
The coffee shop offers a uniquely calm atmosphere where people can gather with family and friends to catch up over a coffee or enjoy a relaxed lunch.
In this modern world, where most of our communications are online, there is a growing desire amongst people to create more personal moments in their lives.
Coffee outlets offer the perfect meeting place thanks to their unique atmosphere and location in the local community, but that’s not the only reason why these locations have shot to success. There is much less pressure or expectation when enjoying a coffee shop, making those personal moments feel even more special.
A Flexible Work Location
People are becoming much more flexible with their working hours in the digital age. The old-fashioned nine-to-five working week is frequently replaced with new patterns designed to appeal to the modern worker.
People are now looking to improve their work-life balance and also how they do work in the first place. This demand is why many people, particularly those with flexible jobs or self-employment, look towards the relaxed atmosphere of coffee shops as places to conduct business.
Why Coffee Shops are Popular Workspaces
A good coffee shop will create a warm, homely feel, yet at the same time create spaces where people can sit and work in relative privacy. This balance is why the coffee shop has overtaken places such as libraries, becoming the go-to location for those freelancing or working out of the office. With an increasing number of people pursuing these working arrangements, coffee shops will only continue to become more popular.
Even for businesses and employees still working in a traditional manner, the coffee shop offers the perfect place to spend a relaxing lunch break. Coffee outlets also make the ideal place for informal meetings and discussions, thanks to their relaxed ambience.
Coffee has been around for hundreds of years. Originating in Arabia, it has since been cultivated across the world and is available in innumerable forms.
As with many food and drink sectors, coffee is experiencing a quality-led renaissance. Now more than ever, people are ditching quick and easy coffee in search of great flavours and unique ideas.
Artisanal Coffee Culture
The growing demand for great coffee moments is leading to a boom in artisanal coffee. The common joke of not understanding the coffee shop menu is evidence of this explosion of ideas.
However, this creativity is backed by a willing audience that is becoming increasingly educated when it comes to coffee. People are now excited to try coffee drinks from across the world and are eager to travel to their favourite coffee shops for these experiences, a trait few other drink chains can match.
What Does the Modern Coffee Consumer Want?
The modern coffee consumer is increasingly educated and aware of the importance of issues such as sustainability. Research during the COVID-19 pandemic also indicated that people are now much more conscious of where they are spending their money, moving away from easy-access conglomerates and towards smaller, local, ethics-led businesses.
- They want to see authenticity from their brands.
- They want shops and brands which share and promote their beliefs.
- They are willing to pay more and be loyal to local and quality products.
Why a Coffee Shop is Good Business
Investing in a coffee shop has always been good business. So long as you have business acumen, a good location and a strong brand behind you, there is a good chance for success in the coffee shop sector.
Steady, Consistent Growth
As mentioned initially, prior to the COVID pandemic, the UK coffee shop industry had achieved 20 years of consecutive growth for all sectors, from large chains to independent coffee makers.
When bricks-and-mortar stores are constantly losing business to larger online rivals, achieving such reliable growth makes coffee shops a great proposition. If you’re looking to open a store, there are few better options right now.
The recent success of coffee shops cannot be denied. However, there is continued optimism that the sector’s growth is yet to fully mature. Led by a fluid millennial generation flying the flag for local, sustainable businesses, the coffee shop industry shows plenty of room for further development in the future.
The allure of an independent coffee shop is hard to ignore, which is why we offer a franchising system that blends the best of both worlds.
When you franchise with Esquires Coffee, you get the brand, experience and buying power of a large chain, combined with the ethics, sustainability and artisanal quality of an independent. We help our franchisees become pillars in their local community, promoting that unique local feel that attracts consumers.
These are just some of the reasons why coffee shops have shot to success over the last few decades. With the UK coffee shop industry expected to continue growing long into the future, there are few opportunities as exciting as a coffee shop franchise in the UK!
At Esquires, we help our franchisees create these special moments in their communities, so if you are looking for a challenge to excite you, check out our franchising opportunities today!
*According to Project Café UK 2019, Allegra World Coffee Portal
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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