Europe's coffee bar market during its first Covid year

Cold coffee drinks offer strong growth potential in the coming years.
IMAGO / agefotostock
Cold coffee drinks offer strong growth potential in the coming years.

During the first year under Covid-19 conditions, the top 85 coffee shop brands in Europe still generated an increase of 2 percent more locations. Costa Coffee holds on to first place with 3,148 outlets despite almost 1 percent fewer units than in the previous year, closely followed by McCafé with an estimated 3,110 shop-in-shop units (+7.5 % yoy). A little further behind in third place is global market leader Starbucks (2,856 coffee bars, +1.5% yoy).

Coffee to-go and coffee to-deliver instead of 'Third Place' was the name of the game for the entire coffee bar market in Europe in 2020. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the foodservice business was severely restricted for months (and still is in many countries) – after the first two months of 2020 had been extremely successful for many players. Since March 2020, coffee bar operators have had to adapt again and again to changing conditions. Closures, partially restricted operations and openings with special hygiene measures alternated.

New themes, new locations

The majority of the coffee bar market was and is strongly affected by the crisis. Especially the former pearls in the location portfolio, such as travel, city centre, shopping or business locations, lack(ed) frequency. Tourists, commuters, pupils, students and employees are staying at home. Coffee bars that are in neighborhoods, on the other hand, have been able to score as they have become local suppliers. A new location mix is on the agenda for many players in the future.

In 2020, brands that were already well-positioned digitally and served multiple footholds were at an advantage. These are two themes that will continue to be pushed in the coming years and that promise growth potential. Cold coffee specialties have also become a sales generator. Today, it's hard to imagine life without milk alternatives. What hardly anyone can ignore anymore: reusable systems and reusable cups and food packaging are increasingly demanded by guests. From mid-2021, it will be prohibited throughout the EU to offer certain disposable products made of plastic.

The complete ranking of the top 85 coffee bar players in Europe including commentary and detailed analysis of the top 10 brands was published in foodservice Europe & Middle East 2/2021. Read now!