Q&A: Does Caffe Nero Franchise in the UK?

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caffe nero

The UK’s coffee shop sector is worth a phenomenal £10.1 billion and becoming part of a Starbucks, Costa or Caffe Nero franchise network is lucrative opportunity that many of us would jump at. Caffe Nero in particular is a chain that’s seen its popularity significantly increase. Founded in 1990 in London, the coffee house has managed to grow its presence over the past 30 years. It now has around 666 stores in the UK.

Its authentic Italian coffee, delicious sweet treats and savoury snacks are now available on high streets and in shopping centres of most of the UK’s largest towns and cities. And it shows no signs of slowing its domestic expansion any time soon. But does Caffe Nero currently offer a franchise package? It’s time for us to find out.

Is Caffe Nero a franchise?

Although Caffe Nero is often thought of as a franchise, there are currently no franchise opportunities available in the UK. Expansion is strictly controlled within this key home market, as the business is aware that it must maintain its reputation as one of the top coffee outlets in the country. Consequently, all Caffe Nero locations in the UK are currently owned and operated by the company, and it has announced no plans to change this way of running its network. Considering it’s made more than £2 billion of sales over the course of its lifetime, it’s clear that this is working exceptionally well for the coffee brand.

However, there are franchise opportunities in other international markets. The brand has facilitated much of its global expansion by signing master franchising agreements with organisations and individuals who have a stronger understanding of economic conditions in those target markets.

Although competition from independent coffee brands grows fiercer with each year, and both Starbucks and Costa have more locations, Caffe Nero is perhaps the best placed to continue its success in the UK. Now more than ever, coffee consumers are interested in the quality of the bean, the ethics surrounding its production and the techniques used to brew the coffee. Having always focused on providing its customers with high-quality coffee products, Caffe Nero is now well positioned to grow even more – just not through franchising, unfortunately.

The coffee market in the UK

Great Britain is considered by many to be a nation of tea-lovers, yet more and more of us are opting for a coffee instead. Out-of-home coffee (i.e. coffee shop and café drinks) accounts for more than 33% of all of the UK’s coffee sales and is estimated to be worth £3.2 billion. We also drink an average of 95 million cups of coffee every single day, including at least one daily drink at a local coffee shop or restaurant. Between 2012 and 2017, research also indicated that the value of coffee products sold at cafés increased steadily, demonstrating how we’re more willing to part with our pounds than ever for a quality cup. [British Coffee Association]

It’s clear then, that people in the UK have a healthy appetite for coffee shops and their delicious drinks. This makes it a fantastic industry to get involved with for your first, or perhaps next, business venture. Luckily, we have lots of brilliant coffee shop franchise opportunities right here that are currently looking for new franchisees all across the UK.

What other coffee franchises are there?

Besides Caffe Nero, there are a large number of other coffee franchises that could prove a worthwhile investment. Costa Coffee is probably the largest of these competitors, but the overwhelming success of its franchising programme has meant that it too has no opportunities available at the moment.

In terms of other franchises, Esquires Coffee prides itself on being the fastest growing ethical coffee franchise in the world and has now opened more than 30 outlets across the globe. Dunkin' Donuts offers popular coffee options alongside its signature doughnuts, and Coffee Blue is a mobile coffee retailer that's currently making big waves in the franchising sector.

Franchising Opportunities in the Coffee Sector


If you’d like to start your own coffee business, joining a franchise mitigates lots of the risks and amplifies many of the potential benefits. You’ll gain a recognisable brand identity, established customer base and the support of an experienced franchisor. Here are three of our best coffee shop/café franchise opportunities:

Esquires Coffee

Esquires Coffee is a chain of cafés that can be found across the world. It was launched in Canada in 1993 and expanded into Europe at the start of the new millennium. The business has established a pool of loyal customers in the UK, which has allowed it to create a network of more than 50 outlets in the UK and Ireland. The coffee shop franchise generates a total revenue of £8.9 billion, so it’s a fantastic choice for savvy entrepreneurs.

How can I get involved?

To get involved, you’ll need to be prepared to invest at least £250,000. There is plenty of flexibility when it comes to setting up an Esquires Coffee franchise. You can open a range of sites including:
• Kiosks
• Small cafés
• Large premises based over two floors (up to 2,000 square feet)

Once you’re on board, you’ll receive training in key skills, as well as ongoing guidance with site selection, store design, lease negotiation and marketing.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts is a huge brand that’s a household name in many countries worldwide. It was founded in Massachusetts in 1950. Today, Dunkin’ Donuts has 11,000 outlets in 31 countries and sells an average of more than 30 cups of coffee a second.

Entrepreneurs who take advantage of a Dunkin’ Donuts’ franchise opportunity will be able to benefit from the wealth of experience the brand carries with it. This amounts to almost 70 years of experience and almost 120 years of combined franchising experience. Of course, this expertise is an added bonus, as the main draw is the ability to use the iconic Dunkin’ Donuts branding, which attracts five million customers to its stores every day.

What do I need to join the franchise?

At the moment, the business has not disclosed its financial information and how much it might cost to launch your own Dunkin’ Donuts franchise. It is difficult to anticipate potential investment figures, but if you’re interested in joining the brand, you should be prepared to spend a significant amount of money obtaining the rights to use its famous branding.

The franchise also specifies that you should:


• Be an experienced negotiator
• Have the financial capability to invest in the business over time
• Ideally also be able to launch at least 20 Dunkin’ Donuts stores over a set period of time

Coffee Blue


If you want to bring the coffee to the people, rather than waiting for them to come to you, Coffee Blue could be the right franchise opportunity for you. The mobile coffee van franchise has been operating for more than 30 years across the UK. It serves its delicious, barista standard drinks and hot and cold snacks at events and to workplaces up and down the country.

The franchise’s unique vans have been converted to meet each franchisee’s unique needs and are equipped with:


• A fridge to store cold snacks and milks
• Ample storage space
• Holding ovens for hot food
• Barista-style coffee machines
• Coffee Blue’s award-winning house blend coffee, which is certified by the Rainforest Alliance

If you choose to become a franchisee, you’ll undergo:


• Barista training for eight days to ensure you can make the perfect cup of coffee
• Online food hygiene training that results in a City & Guilds level three food hygiene qualification
• General business training to help with your sales tactics, supply chain and EPOS set-up

You’ll also be fully supported with everything from marketing to managing budgets. Monthly visits from the support team to see how you’re doing will also give you plenty of chances to talk through any problems you encounter. So, if you are a coffee lover, sociable, motivated, organised and have excellent business sense, Coffee Blue could be the ideal franchise opportunity for you.

Should I open a coffee shop franchise?

Even though there isn’t an opportunity to become part of the Caffe Nero network as a franchisee, there are still so many ways to run your very own coffee shop in the UK. Considering the industry’s incredibly high worth and that its popularity only seems to grow with each coming year, it’s worth getting in on the coffee shop boom while you still can.

Besides, many people are looking for brands that offer something slightly different to the big, established brands, whether that’s a more ethical supply chain, unique offerings that cannot be found anywhere else or a stronger community feel in each of its stores. If you want to explore all of our franchises in the coffee shop sector, click here to learn more about all of Point Franchise’s exciting coffee franchise opportunities.

>> Read more articles on the Coffee, Cafe & Coffee Shop sector

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