As the coffee sector continues to prosper, a mobile coffee franchise could prove a shrewd investment, Tom Acland, managing director of Cafe2U UK, says
The recent Allegra UK Coffee Portal Report made for interesting reading for the whole of the coffee industry when it was released at the turn of the year.
Now worth £9.6 billion, the UK coffee market underwent a ‘coming of age’ in the last year, recording 10.5 per cent branded market increase and signifying its 19th consecutive year of growth.
While the industry has strengthened, so too has its understanding of the UK coffee consumer. The top two reasons behind where people choose to buy their coffee from is the convenience of the location and the quality of the coff ee - with the preferred drink of choice still the well-loved latte.
All this makes pleasant reading for anybody remotely linked or interested in the UK coffee market and even more enjoyable for those working and operating in it.
As with many coffee outlets, Cafe2U is simultaneously benefiting from the booming franchise market. Over the last four years, the franchise industry has grown 10 per cent and is now worth £15 billion to the UK economy, employing more than 621,000 people.
To straddle these two burgeoning markets at a time when others are struggling and futures look uncertain is a unique and exciting opportunity. As the fourth largest coffee brand in the UK and largest mobile coffee offering, we are proud of the position we find ourselves in.
A career with a mobile coffee franchise can, therefore, be a profitable one. By their very nature, they off er a less competitive landscape than those on the high street, in shopping centres or at transport hubs, providing a unique experience of coffee shop quality espresso coffee taken to a workplace or event.
This is underlined by the demands of customers, who are looking for a higher standard of coffee than that currently available at their workplace, delivered in the most convenient fashion. There’s nothing more convenient than coffee coming straight to your door.
Mobile coffee franchise partners can capitalise on this need for convenience, while carefully planned rounds can ensure you’re operating in areas with less competition.
While most workplaces have instant coffee available and some off er a canteen service, workers up and down the country still opt to spend money on high quality coffee from a mobile van. Bringing a workforce out to the back of a van also brings other benefits.
A recent survey we conducted outlined that for a number of customers the social experience of coming out to grab a coffee and standing in a queue with colleagues is a highlight of their day.
It gives them the ability to get away from their desks for fi ve minutes and out into the fresh air, socialise, relax, text a friend or answer the daily quiz question posed by their friendly barista. Many HR departments are encouraging a break for their workers in this way.
As consumers become more discerning however, it’s important to continually invest in developing product ranges and ensuring you are offering the latest on-trend coffees and twists.
This has seen us add drinks such as turmeric and matcha lattes, plus responding to the preference for alternative milks by adding the likes of coconut milk to the back of the van.
Similarly, consumers are becoming more and more driven by environmental issues.
As a Rainforest Alliance certificated business, we are confident of the provenance of our coffee and passing on that our coffee is grown responsibly is a key message to customers.
Recently the ‘Latte Levy’ has dominated the industry and the national press. In response, launching a ‘KeepCup’ has seen us meet customer demand for an ethical response. Likewise, we are currently researching a sustainable cup alternative to launch too.
Drilling down into the buying habits of these customers reinforces this. On average, our customer spend varies across the day, but typically they will spend more than £4 per visit, which equates to a coffee plus a food item.
Offering breakfast, lunch and other hot and cold snacks ensures we cover a wide range of tastes and needs and our operating experience has demonstrated that this is what customers want.
High quality coffee, other hot drinks and cold drinks are now an essential part of any event organised around the UK and our mobile coffee vans can obviously go anywhere any time for any type of event.
This is something we actively encourage our franchise partners to arrange in their local areas, attending everything from five-a-side football tournaments and park runs to school fetes, village fairs and even car launches at car dealerships.
We have a professionally mapped territory set with priority areas across the UK and we are constantly looking for motivated baristas to launch in new territories.
Through our low overhead, high profit model, we are confident we can help franchise partners make the most of the current coffee boom and look forward to adding to 90-plus vans currently operating across the country.
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