Blurred lines: when pubs and coffee shops collide


Blurred lines: when pubs and coffee shops collide


With alcohol sales declining, the lines between pubs and coffee shops are becoming increasingly blurred. In the face of high rents, falling alcohol consumption and stiff competition plaguing the pub industry, providing guests with excellent coffee options could be a business-saving strategy.

Many publicans are already seeing successful coffee sales. Fuller's now shifts nearly two million hot beverages each year while J. D. Wetherspoons professes to sell over one million cups of filter coffee every week. It's now nearly as common for a guest to choose a hot latte at the bar as a cold pint, with nearly 30% of Brits reporting ordering hot drinks at the pub. At the CGA Peach 2020 Conference this week, leading industry experts highlighted cold press coffee as one of the key drinks trends to watch out for in 2017. One of our clients in the pub industry uses our Mystery Visits service to check that coffee is being properly displayed and promoted at their sites.

Operators who want to cash in on caffeine will need to think through their offering carefully. Guests are used to a high quality of coffee even within their own home, with single serving pod sales outstripping instant and ground coffee. The proliferation of coffee types and varieties means guests' coffee knowledge is growing, and your staff will need to be able to keep up. Coffee of the same standard- or worse- than what's easily available within the home won't be enough to tempt guests to order. Cold brews, specialist milks and waters, joffee (that's coffee mixed with a fruit juice), and cascara coffee are all trends to watch in the coming months. Get the coffee offering right, and you won't just set yourself apart from your competition, but guests may be willing to spend as much as £6 on a cup.

There have always been similarities in the ways that coffee shops and pubs manage the guest experience. Continually competing to be the Third Space, the focus is on creating an atmosphere where guests feel welcome and at home- somewhere they can idle over a coffee or a glass of wine in a leisurely fashion. To mimic the success independent coffee sites are seeing, pub operators should consider updating the coffee component of their current guest experience.

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