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      • Coffee news update: 2019 and your best approach for growth

      • As a commercial coffee machine supplier to coffee shops, pubs and restaurants, and a supplier of bean-to-cup coffee machines for businesses in every sector, we know what our customers’ priorities are: a reliable, efficient coffee maker, reasonably priced, that helps them deliver great-quality coffee and gain a return on their investment. Invariably, they also want dependable, responsive customer service. But advantages of leasing a commercial coffee machine come up time and again, and with the state of the UK economy right now, our clients definitely want a little cost certainty. According to Allegra’s latest research – Project Café UK 2019 – almost half of industry leaders are experiencing Brexit-related negativity within the business, at 49%. 69% think it’s affecting consumer confidence – which means belt-tightening all round – while 87% think the UK economy as a whole has been adversely affected.

        Despite concerns about labour shortages, increasing import costs and reduced customer high-street spend, the coffee shop industry hit 20 years of consecutive growth during 2018, with sales increases of 7.9%. So, that’s good news. However, branded coffee shops inevitable account for a good deal of that growth, and as UK consumers look for ways to keep costs low, it’s McDonald’s and Greggs – both of which have been upping their game in the coffee stakes – who are seen as the best value.

        The average price of a cup of the nation’s favourite coffee - a latte - is £2.66. Cappuccino and Americano are the second and third most frequently ordered. That price matters if customers continue watching the pennies and the economy continues to stagnate. And of course, the big chains are those best able to absorb increased costs and reduced customer footfall and spending.

        Yet Allegra’s report does say that it’s the quality of the coffee that matters most, that contributes most to a coffee shop’s success rates. And 45% of the coffee industry leaders Allegra spoke with said that social media is the most effective form of marketing. We’ve said it time and again in this coffee blog: social media marketing for coffee shops is a must. And independent coffee shops, snack bars and the like are far better placed to offer authentic and truly personal and individual social engagement and appreciation.

        There are now very nearly 25,500 coffee shops in the UK. To make sure you’re still one of them in a year or more’s time, we’ve got four simple pieces of advice:

        1. Lease a coffee machine from a reputable, reliable supplier
        2. Provide ethically sourced, high-grade coffee and serve it with skill and personality
        3. Make sure your coffee shop has a distinct identity, with well-thought-out space and complementary offerings and services
        4. Embrace social media and embed yourself in the local community consciousness.

        Read more: 5 top tips for a successful coffee shop