If you stand on any high street in the UK, chances are you can see at least one coffee shop, though more likely several. Every town, especially bigger cities, now have so many coffee shops that it isn’t just a choice of which brand you prefer, but which individual store. Coffee is more popular than it’s ever been, and at busy times of day all of those coffee shops will be swarming with customers, but are we now starting to approach the point where we have too much of a good thing?
How much is too much?
As with any market, competition is necessary to drive better quality products and to encourage businesses to provide the best service they can to their customers. Too much competition on the other hand, reduces everyone’s market share and can make it very difficult to turn a profit, particularly for independent businesses.
Large chains have the financial backing to open and close stores easily without too much risk and will have large teams of people to calculate where the most profitable markets are and understanding how to maximise revenue. Small businesses however don’t have that luxury, and too many chain stores opening close by can quickly bankrupt a previously profitable business. Smaller coffee shops are also where the best product innovation usually takes place and will always be the businesses who push the limits of quality and experience, which is vital for the coffee industry in general.
What else can UK brands do?
For the bigger brands, the logical next step once the UK market starts to reach its saturation point is to start looking further afield. Many British coffee brands are already doing this, with Costa, Caffè Nero and Pret already expanding into foreign markets. Global coffee shop leader Starbucks have used this business model to dominate the international market and are the most successful coffee brand by a considerable margin, so it’s no surprise that the UK businesses are looking to follow suit.
What else can smaller businesses do?
For independent businesses however, expanding internationally isn’t really a viable option. Instead, the focus should be on streamlining your production in the UK to maximise efficiencies in a way that keeps costs down, but provides an even better experience for your customers.
The first place you should be looking to make improvements is in speeding up drinks production to keep queues down, keeping customers happy and encouraging more to come in. WMF coffee machines provide a great solution for this, the WMF Espresso automatically grinds and tamps the coffee beans for you to give you the time to properly prepare the milk and get your drinks out quickly. You could always go one step further with a bean-to-cup machine like the WMF 5000 S+ which will create the perfect drink with a wide variety of options, without any need for a barista at all. Download a brochure to see our full range.