Top 5 Coffee Shop Franchises in the UK

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coffee shop franchise

From the espresso to the cappuccino, the flat white to the iced latte, there’s so much choice for the coffee drinkers of Great Britain today. If you want to become a part of this growing industry by opening your own coffee shop franchise unit, read on.


There’s no doubt we’re a nation of coffee lovers here in the UK. In fact, a controversial report by coffee syrup makers Monin has revealed that we now actually prefer coffee to tea. Apparently, 61 percent of us would choose the stimulating beverage over our former unofficial national drink. Let’s take a look at some more interesting facts about the coffee industry.

The coffee industry in the UK

In 2018, research suggested that our daily coffee consumption had risen by 25 million cups in the past 10 years, to reach 95 million. And while nearly a third of people don’t buy coffee at all, six percent of the surveyed group drink six or more cups every day. Meanwhile, four in five households buy instant coffee.

On the high street, coffee performs just as well. 80 percent of consumers visit a coffee shop at least once a week, and 16 percent of the population pop into a local café on a daily basis. Thanks to our love of the warming beverage, the UK coffee shop sector is now worth £10 billion and has been growing for the last 20 years.

This makes the coffee shop sector a promising area for budding entrepreneurs. As more and more consumers opt to enjoy a freshly-ground coffee in a friendly café rather than a pint at their local pub, coffee shops are becoming a great investment. Below, we list five of our best coffee shop franchise opportunities, so you can find out more about joining the sector.



Our top 5 coffee shop franchises

Because the popularity of coffee is on the rise, entrepreneurs are taking advantage of gaps in the market. This means there are a variety of different business models in the coffee sector to get involved with. Here, we’ll look at kiosks and mobile franchises, as well as traditional cafes.

1. Esquires Coffee

First up, a conventional café. You’ll be familiar with the big industry players in this area; Costa, Starbucks and Caffè Nero. When you’re opening a café like Esquires Coffee, you’ll need to secure a spot on a busy high street and hire additional staff to make and serve food and drinks, and keep the premises clean. This can be costly, but remember, coffee shop businesses often become part of the community and develop a large group of loyal customers who choose to visit regularly.

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

Next, we have a couple of mobile coffee shop franchises on our books. As the name suggests, mobile coffee franchisees sell coffee and other products from their vehicle in areas of high demand. The only real outlay is the stock and the vehicle purchase and maintenance. This type of franchise model is ideal for entrepreneurs with a limited budget who are looking for flexibility. With a coffee van, you can move to where your customers are at different times of the day and mould your working hours around any existing commitments.

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.

You only have to read the reviews to see that Coffee Blue is a popular franchise:

It’s really nice to meet new people all the time; it’s been very well received by everyone. - Martin, Coffee Blue Harrogate

3. Cafe2U

Cafe2U is another mobile coffee franchise that sells hot beverages and snacks to hungry customers in a number of locations. Again, this is a flexible business opportunity; being able to move to areas of high demand will help you maximise profits - and you can adapt your working hours to fit in with your other commitments.

  • Becoming a Cafe2U franchisee: If you capitalise on our love of freshly brewed coffee by joining Cafe2U, you’ll operate out of a fully equipped Mercedes-Benz Vito premium van within your exclusive territory. To learn more and sign up, click here.
     
  • How much you need to invest: You’ll need £81,000 to set up your own Cafe2U franchise unit.
     
  • What you get for your investment: This innovative franchise has developed a four-week training and support programme called the Acceleration Package. The pack provides new franchisees with classroom and on-the-job training, as well as valuable one-to-one time with a franchise development manager. And, to make sure your business gets off to the best possible start, Cafe2U offers an income guarantee for the first two weeks of business – so you’ll know exactly what you will earn in that crucial initial stage.

4. Really Awesome Coffee

This mobile coffee shop franchise launched in Coventry in 2010 and now has a chain of more than 50 franchisees. Really Awesome Coffee offers a wide variety of food and drink options, from gourmet coffees, frappes and smoothies to hot and cold food.

  • Becoming a Really Awesome Coffee franchisee: If you have a friendly, enthusiastic attitude, this franchise wants to hear from you. To learn more and sign up, click here.
     
  • How much you need to invest: If you want to make really awesome coffee, you’ll need to make an investment of £69,000. But after two years, you can expect to see a revenue of between £80,000 and £100,000.
     
  • What you get for your investment: Every franchisee benefits from Really Awesome Coffee’s dedicated training programme. You’ll spend two weeks at the coffee franchise’s Coventry training centre before you get two weeks of support in your territory. After this, the franchise development manager will visit regularly to make sure you’re on the path to profitability.


5. Dunkin’ Donuts

Our last option is world-famous franchise, Dunkin’ Donuts. You may not have bought a coffee from this US-based business, but you’ll have almost definitely heard of it. If you want to open a kiosk-style coffee shop franchise, perhaps with small amounts of seating, this could be the perfect opportunity for you.

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. Dunkin’ Donuts has accumulated almost 70 years of experience in the food and drink industry, and is famous among coffee – and doughnut – lovers across the world.

  • 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.

Become a coffee connoisseur

Joining a coffee shop franchise and running your own business can have huge rewards – and should continue to as the sector grows. What’s more, you’ll have the chance to become a key player in your local community. You’ll provide freshly brewed coffee to grateful customers who will return again and again, whether they like a mocha, macchiato or affogato. To browse our full list of coffee shops and cafes, click here.

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

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