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About Costa Coffee
History of the brand
Costa operates 2,000 coffee shops in the UK alone. It has been voted the nation’s favourite coffee shop for eight years running, according to Allegra Insight’s independent customer panel. For the last 40 years it has provided hot beverages and an ever-expanding menu to the British public.
In 1978 Costa’s first coffee shop opened in London by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa. In was purchased in 1995 by the UK’s largest hospitality company, Whitbread, which owns other well-known brands, such as Premier Inn and Beefeater.
Since then the coffee shop chain has expanded with the support of its corporate partners and community of franchisees. Opening its first international store in Dubai in 1999 it has also expanded globally, now running over 1,000 shops worldwide. In 2007 it overtook the American brand Starbucks as the UK’s largest coffee chain.
Costa has been a pioneer of the modern age, always looking to diversify and improve the service it provides. In 2010 the company became the first branded chain to launch the Flat White nationwide. And in 2011, the chain opened the first Costa Drive-Thru in Nottingham. These moves underline the brand’s willingness to adapt to its customer base and find new ways to satisfy consumers.
From espressos to mochas, Costa is rightfully proud of its coffee. From sourcing, storing, blending, roasting, grinding and pouring, no other company is involved in the production of the unique Costa flavour. All of its coffee is roasted and ground in the UK, and in 2017 Costa opened a £38m Paradise Street Roastery in Basildon.
The company is thinking big and looking to expand, aiming to achieve £2.5bn in system sales worldwide by 2020. Costa is always interested in getting new partners involved with the brand. If you share the company’s passion, you could have an opportunity to share in its success with a Costa Coffee franchise.
What makes Costa the UK’s favourite coffee shop?
The coffee shop chain has enjoyed vast success in the UK, owing to its authentic, great tasting products, warm, welcoming atmosphere and its substantial commitment to community values and sustainable development.
Costa has promised a brand-wide commitment to creating a ‘litter-free environment’ helping with environmental projects wherever it can. One of its mottos is ‘Great taste without the waste’, and the company really wants people to enjoy good coffee without the packaging going to waste. That’s why over 2,000 Costa outlets will recycle any returned coffee cups and also take in cups from other coffee shops and recycle those, too. The company aims, overall, to recycle 30m takeaway cups each year. This policy also directly benefits customers, as Costa is offering 25p off any drink when it is served in a reusable cup.
The brand is also very proud to be the only UK coffee chain that purchases its coffee beans from Rainforest Alliance-certified farms. This ensures that all of its coffee is grown sustainably and that farmers are supported and paid fairly for their hard work. The Costa Foundation is the company’s own charity initiative. It helps people in coffee-growing areas get out of poverty, by setting up schools and providing quality education. Since 2012 it has set up 72 schools and educated over 60,000 children in countries like Colombia, Ethiopia, Vietnam and Costa Rica.
How to start a franchise with Costa Coffee
With a corporate franchise Costa will help you incorporate the franchise into your current business. This kind of partnership is different from a standard franchise agreement, in that it is set up in an existing place of business: typically a hospital, food court, university, or cinema. These are typically very successful, adding good coffee and style to any work or leisure environment. This is the best way to get involved with Costa at the moment, as a franchise partner your existing business will benefit from the attraction of Costa coffee, with support from the company framework.
The competition is high, however, for a corporate franchise Costa is looking to work with large companies of at least 10 store locations. Because of how popular its full-store franchise offer has been in recent years, the brand has to be very selective about new business ventures.
Unfortunately, there are no individual opportunities to start a new Costa franchise at the moment, due to the vast success the company has had in recent years. However, this could change soon and entrepreneurs are always welcome to enquire with business propositions on their website.
Current estimates suggest that a potential franchise would require a minimum personal investment of £250,000 in contribution to the start-up costs of £800,000. Furthermore, the initial franchise fee will depend on the desired location for a Costa coffee franchise.
Internationally, Costa has taken its special coffee experience to 29 countries of the world. It is very interested in expanding further abroad and is searching for established local businesses to help the brand grow in more diverse regions.
A Costa franchise doesn’t have to be a full-store investment - there are ways to get involved with the Costa brand on a small scale. Costa Express launched in 2011 and has set up 5,000 coffee machines worldwide for the convenient supply of coffee.
They have been set up in convenience stores, forecourts, corporate buildings and leisure centres so that customers can get a great coffee, wherever they are. The easy-to-use touchscreen coffee bar makes quick and efficient delivery simple for on-the-go coffee-lovers.
Proud to Serve is another initiative that brings coffee to existing catering businesses. Through this scheme businesses can join Costa as a partner and broaden their current customer base. The company will provide all of the training, products, equipment and support materials to create a Costa experience for your consumers. These coffee bars can include all the highlights of a Costa coffee: including Costa Ice and Impulse – the company’s own range of snacks – all for a much smaller investment and workspace environment.
You can propose your business to Costa for the chance to invest in either a Costa Express or a Proud to Serve opportunity, bringing the goodness of Costa closer to you.