Coffee shops have been one of the hardest hit sectors of the pandemic. But, as restrictions begin to ease, investing in a coffee shop franchise is looking more attractive than ever. Here are a few key trends developing in the industry for this year
Before the pandemic, coffee shops were one of the booming sectors of the economy. But, there’s no doubt coffee shop franchises have been badly hit during the pandemic.
But, as restrictions begin to ease, coffee shop franchises can look forward to getting back to some kind of normality in the future. This also means the sector can start planning for future growth, making coffee shop franchises an attractive investment prospect again.
What is a coffee shop franchise?
Coffee shop franchises have been growing massively in the last few years with each franchise serving different coffee from the next, often alongside delicious lunch options and tasty treats. Operating under the franchise business model, many of coffee shop chains have been able to grow quickly and profitably. With one eye on future growth in the sector, here are four franchises well-placed to grow quickly in the next few months:
- Centenary Lounge: is an award-winning, unique collection of destination venues, serving amazing menus and cocktail elegance inspired by the original 1930s Art Deco period.
- The Acai Spot: offers healthy and delicious snacks and coffee.
- Auntie Anne’s: is the world’s largest soft pretzel chain.
- Coffee Blue: is the UK’s leading mobile coffee van franchise, providing barista-quality hot drinks and food to workplaces, offices, events and festivals across the country.
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The state of the Coffee Shop industry post-COVID
It’s no secret that coffee shops have been hit hard by the pandemic. Many local and independent stores have been forced to close either temporarily or permanently. And, although many franchisees have been able to continue operating through deliveries, it hasn’t been able to fully offset the impact of closing indoors.
However, as restrictions begin to lift, coffee shops are putting in place a number of different measures in order to open again in the future. These include:
- Flexible, socially distanced indoors eating and drinking.
- Continued delivery and subscription box services.
- Increased commitments to sustainable industry practices.
The Top 4 Trends in Coffee Shop Franchising
1. Plant-Based Demand
In recent years, there has been an explosion in demand for food and drink that caters to vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and religious dietary needs, and coffee shops haven’t been immune to this.
Coffee shop franchises have been forced to innovate in order to meet this new demand. Specially designed vegan options can now be found in almost all franchises, meaning if your franchise isn’t, you could be missing out on new customers.
There are now even a number of specially designed vegan franchises, proving that this trend is growing in popularity all the time. As we all get back to eating and drinking out again, you can expect this trend to stick around for a long while yet.
2. Flexible service
In the months following the most recent lockdowns, hospitality has been experiencing notable shortfalls in staffing. This has meant that many coffee shop franchises have been forced to prioritise certain stores over others. Some may even temporarily closed until these shortages are fixed.
But necessity is the mother of invention, and even this hasn’t been able to prevent certain franchises from adapting. One trend that had started before the pandemic and is continuing to this day, is the development of flexible and van-based coffee shops.
One of the fastest growing examples of this trend is Coffee Blue, who provides industry-grade catering services to businesses and events, all from the back of a van. With 14 vans already bringing delicious coffee and snacks to customers around the country, this franchise has also been seeing exciting growth in recent months.
With some franchisees being forced to remain temporarily shut due to staffing problems, mobile and van-based franchises are becoming more and more of a trend in this industry.
3. Delivery Services
Delivery services were one of the only lifelines available to coffee shops during the lockdowns. While delivery alone wasn’t enough to keep some open, deliveries allowed some chains to discover new customers, providing a lifeline to many.
According to a recent survey by Kantar, deliveries for the week ending 21 March 2021 remained 79 percent higher than the previous year. Of course, nothing truly compares to the real-life experience that coffee shops give you, but through exploring different delivery options, some coffee shops have been able to discover new ways of reaching customers.
4. Subscription services
Subscription boxes were an unexpected development during the lockdowns, but have proven to be a lifeline for many businesses. Regular deliveries of coffee or hand-crafted food can now be provided on a weekly, fortnightly or monthly basis, allowing customers to enjoy the unique taste of their local coffee shop from the comfort of their home.
Subscription programmes surged 48 percent in 2020, of which the food and beverage sector accounted for a 28 percent increase as well [SmartBrief]. Coffee shop franchises offering prepared meal kits have also been able to benefit from this trend, with 10 percent of consumers ordering a prepared meal kit between June and July of 2020.
Subscription boxes had been increasing in demand just before the pandemic and, with many consumers trying and enjoying these prepared kits throughout the lockdowns, they have proven to be a reliable and effective way of supporting a local shop. You can expect this trend to continue well into the future.
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Interested in running a coffee shop franchise?
There are better times ahead for coffee shops. The sector has endured many months of challenges but with vaccines arriving and restrictions behind us, there’s absolutely no doubt that this sector will see another period of growth.
If you’re interested in running your own coffee shop business, and think that the franchising model is the most attractive option for you, there are many exciting franchises looking for ambitious franchisees. You can see more about some of the franchises listed above by clicking on their profile pages. Or, if the coffee shop sector isn’t quite right for you, you can see a full list of available opportunities on the UK franchise directory.
Elliott Fudge, Point Franchise ©