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Wake up and smell the coffee: Surveys reveal importance of coffee to restaurants and pubs

By Peter Ruddick , 18-Oct-2012
Last updated on 18-Oct-2012 at 17:26 GMT

According to two surveys, hospitality operators are increasingly realising the importance of coffee to their businesses with national pub chains now selling more cups of the beverage than their coffee shop neighbours on the high street.

New figures released by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) indicate the British pub is now the number one seller in the country of the popular hot drink with 3.6m cups sold in boozers every week.

Meanwhile a survey commissioned by automated coffee machine manufacturer Nespresso reveals a quarter of diners see coffee as so important to a restaurant they wouldn't return somewhere that served them a bad cup.

Discerning

The Nespresso research, which saw ICM Research gauge the thoughts of more than 2,000 UK adults, suggests coffee now plays a significant role in the overall perception of a restaurant.

While 24 per cent would not return somewhere with poor quality coffee, 62 per cent of the management executives surveyed said the product significantly influenced their view of a restaurant.

"The industry needs to be more aware of the changing habits of our guests and understand that people are becoming more and more discerning in their food and drink choices, so of course it is no different with coffee," Phil Howard, head chef and co-owner of Michelin-starred restaurant The Square, argued.

Howard said fellow chefs and restaurateurs ignore their coffee offering at their peril.

"The industry needs to be more aware of the changing habits of our guests and understand that people are becoming more and more discerning in their food and drink choices, so of course it is no different with coffee. As a coffee lover myself, I would be disappointed if, after a great meal out, I was served a terrible coffee."

High street

Commenting on the ALMR figures indicating the growth in coffee sales in the nation's pubs, Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director at the trade body, said the increase was not just helpful for takings but was a good news story for the industry which pays a great deal in taxation and corporate tax in particular.

"These figures demonstrate why Britain’s pubs and bars are at the healthy heart of local communities. They are not only a great place to socialise with friends or share a meal with family; they are also Britain’s favourite place to grab a coffee."

"We may have imported the American model of coffee shops onto our high streets, but you can’t beat the British pub - and our customers can enjoy their coffee knowing that we pay every penny we should in tax," she added.

BigHospitality recently produced a video from a Restaurant magazine roundtable discussion on how to maximise coffee sales and make the perfect cup of restaurant coffee - you can take a look at the video here.

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