Meet Jill McDonald, Costa Coffee CEO

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Jill McDonald

Costa Coffee is an iconic part of the British high street and is the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK. Due to there recently being a new Costa Coffee CEO appointed, we thought we’d use this opportunity to learn more about the British businesswoman now spearheading the brand’s success.

Who is Costa Coffee CEO, Jill McDonald?

McDonald was born in Birmingham in 1964 and grew up in Sevenoaks, Kent. She went on to graduate from the University of Brighton with a first-class degree in business studies.

Her most recent role was Managing Director of clothing and home for Marks & Spencer and she serves on the board of InterContinental Hotels Group.

From 2015 to 2017, she was the CEO of Halfords Group. Prior to this, between 2006 and 2015 she held three roles with McDonald’s, including the UK CEO and Division President, North Europe. From 1990 to 2006, she worked for British Airways; one of her roles was Global Head of Marketing.

According to McDonald:

I have long been a fan of Costa and have watched the company grow in the UK and far beyond. I look forward to joining the Costa leadership team and building on the great foundation and growth potential in the business.

The British coffee house chain has been a subsidiary of The Coca-Cola Company since January 2019. Jennifer Mann, the Coca-Cola Company’s President for Global Ventures commented:

“I am excited to welcome Jill to the Costa family. Her track record, depth of international experience and excitement about joining our business makes her an ideal leader to build on the great work of Dominic and the rest of the Costa team.”

What is Costa Coffee?

Costa Coffee is one of the UK’s leading coffee shops and can be found in every major town and city. With more than 2,400 stores in the UK, most of us have experienced a warming coffee break in Costa Coffee at some point or another. From its welcoming atmosphere to its quality, ethically sourced coffee, this brand has honed a highly successful business model and generated revenues of £1.34 billion in the fiscal year ending in February 2019.

The Costa Coffee journey began in 1971, when Bruno and Sergio Costa arrived in London, bringing their passion for coffee with them. 1978 saw the launch of their first coffee shop, introducing the brand to the UK for the first time.

Costa Coffee business model

The coffee shop franchise is constantly building on its business model, but keeps its core values at heart. These include the franchise’s ‘warm personality’, ‘welcoming environment’, ‘irresistible coffee’ and, most importantly, customers.

Costa Coffee also prides itself on celebrating diversity, seeing differing perspectives, attitudes and talents as harbouring great potential for the business. With this in mind, the business supports inclusivity and equality, not only in its huge body of workers throughout the UK, but in communities across the world.

Does Costa Coffee franchise in the UK?

In short – yes. But there are some caveats. Costa Coffee has a highly ambitious attitude towards expansion. Because of this, Costa Coffee is keen for investors to incorporate the brand into corporate establishments and onto foreign soil.

Becoming a Costa Coffee franchisee: Corporate franchisees will only be accepted as a business partner if they have the capital and capability to open Costa Coffee franchises in at least 10 different corporate sites. Click here to learn more.

Costa Coffee is not currently looking for franchisees to launch further sites in non-corporate environments, but those interested in investing should regularly check their options, as the brand may reconsider their stance in the future, should the opportunity for more franchises arise.

Franchisees do have the option of expanding the business’ international presence. Costa Coffee can currently be found in 29 countries across the world, and hopes to increase this number. The business asks that international franchisees have franchising experience and the skillset, contacts and capital to add to the brand’s global reputation.

Other franchises in the coffee shop sector

1. Esquires Coffee

Esquires Coffee serves delicious food and drinks, but it’s also a business with high ethical standards, which should attract increasing numbers of consumers as time goes on. This franchise was founded in Canada in 1993 and came to the UK in 2000. Today, the internationally recognised brand has a network of more than 50 cafes in the UK and Ireland, and sees a turnover of just under £9 billion.

  • Becoming an Esquires Coffee franchisee: When you become part of Esquires Coffee, you join a coffee shop franchise with a conscience. It works hard to preserve its “community ethos” and has been ranked as the UK’s second most ethical coffee company and the UK’s top coffee franchise (Elite Franchise). To learn more and sign up, click here.
  • How much you need to invest: Franchisees need to put £225,000 towards property agency fees, store design and fit-out, furniture and equipment.
  • What you get for your investment: Esquires Coffee provides an excellent training scheme and supports all franchisees in site selection and procurement, store design, lease negotiation and marketing.

2. Coffee Blue

If you’re thinking about opening a coffee franchise, why not go mobile, with a fully equipped van? Coffee Blue is the UK’s leading mobile coffee van franchise, selling “barista-quality hot drinks” and delicious food, which it takes to workplaces, events and festivals across the country.

The franchise’s parent company, Vantastec was ranked top ‘Converter of the Year’ at the 2020 WhatVan? awards, demonstrating just how reliable its mobile coffee vehicles are.

  • Becoming a Coffee Blue franchisee: You’ll operate out of a Ford Transit Custom that has been converted into a sparkling coffee station. Franchisees benefit from higher reliability and lower ongoing costs than any other mobile coffee business. To learn more and sign up, click here.
  • How much you need to invest: Coffee Blue’s full franchise package costs £16,950, but you could pay up to £43,305 upfront if you choose the ‘Buy Outright’ package.
  • What you get for your investment: You’ll get master barista training and ongoing support, as well as £7,500 worth of stock, NCASS membership, access to the EPOS till system and help with marketing and social media.

3. Dunkin’ Donuts

There are over 11,000 Dunkin’ Donuts locations spread across 31 countries, serving more than five million customers every single day. In fact, the franchise sells an average of over 30 cups of coffee every second. It’s also accumulated almost 70 years of experience in the food and drink industry, and is famous among coffee – and doughnut – lovers worldwide.

  • Becoming a Dunkin’ Donuts franchisee: This doughnut franchise is looking for entrepreneurs who are prepared to open at least 20 outlets within a given period. If you think you’re the person for the job, why not get in touch? To learn more and sign up, click here.
  • How much you need to invest: This is a big brand, so you’ll need to have at least £3 million to invest.
  • What you get for your investment: It goes without saying that you’ll benefit from high brand recognition and a ready-made customer base. It’s likely that, wherever you set up shop, you’ll find plenty of hungry customers eager to dunk their doughnuts. This franchise also provides its franchisees with world-class tools and resources to make sure all franchise units are profitable.

Start a coffee franchise today

If you’re a coffee fanatic and dream of one day being a CEO of a big coffee brand, why not kickstart your career with a coffee franchise? Check out another one of our articles about the top five coffee shop franchises in the UK. Also, you can also find out if Costa Coffee’s parent company Coca-Cola franchises in the UK.

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

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