Coffee Shops & Restaurants In Coffee Sales Battle

 In Coffee News

Specialist and independent coffee shops selling the finest in private label coffee are facing a new threat to their livelihoods in the form of quick-service restaurants (QSR), which have in the past been more associated with the likes of baked goods and burgers than top quality coffee beans.

New research from the NPD Group has just revealed that QSR outlets have increased their coffee sales three times faster than specialist coffee chains on the high street since the year ending June 2008, at 63 per cent. In contrast, the latter saw its sales rise by 21 per cent over the same period. And it’s not just QSR establishments that coffee shops need to be on their guard against… pubs are also cashing in on this interest in coffee, increasing servings by 18 per cent.

Foodservice director at the organisation Cyril Lavenant advised specialist coffee houses to wise up to these stats in order to retain market share. He suggested that they do all they can to stand out so they can remain competitive, perhaps by focusing on branding, making their menu and ambience different to their competition’s and being fresher in their approach to business.

He went on to add: “Britain’s coffee market is highly competitive, with specialist outlets not just competing against each other but also taking on the high street QSR brands. Quality coffee is now available in a huge variety of locations – fast-food restaurants, sandwich shops, bakeries, supermarkets and convenience stores, high street retailers, tourist attractions, and of course petrol stations.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that offering high-quality coffee is the lifeblood of the British foodservice market. It provides a route for foodservice operators to serve customers from their menu throughout the day, from coffee with breakfast to coffee after a dinner out.”

So what can be done to help independent coffee shops keep their head above water in the face of this emerging threat? Perhaps try and beat them at their own game and start offering options that restaurants, bars and pubs are more associated with, such as alcohol! Opening later during the day could be a wise move (perhaps look to the coffee shops of Spain for a few ideas on how to bring in custom when competition is seriously rife), while running different events on a weekly or monthly basis could help bring the customers in.

And, of course, prioritising the quality of your coffee is a sure-fire way of keeping your customers happy and loyal. If you don’t use good quality beans, the quality of your coffee will suffer – and these days, people will certainly be able to tell. This means that they’re more likely to pop off to the restaurant next door that they know does serve excellent coffee than come through your doors more than once.

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