The number of coffee shops in Britain is set to overtake pubs by the year 2030, according to research conducted for the London Coffee Festival.
Some three coffee shops are opening every day, adding an extra 21-a-week serving up lattes and cappuccinos. By contrast between 21 and 25 pubs are closing every week, with many turned into private homes and convenience stores.
The switch from lager to latte means that the number of UK coffee shops has risen from 10,000 in 2007 to 24,000 today. At the same time, the traditional pub is suffering with the total down from around 75,000 in the 1970s to around 47,000 today.
As meeting places go, coffee shops are very female-friendly and are open all day and come without the alcohol or rowdiness that can be associated with pubs. Pubs traditionally have been more about men meeting in the evening, although food-led pubs are deemed more family-friendly.
To meet coffee needs, London brewer Fuller’s has created their own-brand coffee, approaching it in a similar artisanal manner that the high street coffee shops do. They now sell over 1.25m cups a year and train its staff as baristas. Welsh brewer Brains has gone one step further and bought their own chain of coffee shops, Coffee#1.
Many pubs have started opening early in the morning after investing in coffee-making equipment and signing deals with the likes of Costa (Spirit Pub Company) and Lavazza (Wetherspoons).
Wetherspoons sell upwards of 50 million coffees and teas each year, making big pub chains seem an enticing partner to coffee companies. Opening earlier in the morning allows pubs to reinvent themselves slightly, giving them more of a coffee shop vibe.
Britain’s increasingly mobile workforce are often looking for a place outside the home/office to get some work done, and setting up in a pub with Wi-Fi can be an enticing idea for some.