Three types of coffee shop customer, reveals BRITA study

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Coffee shop customers can broadly be categorised into three types — ‘Shoppers’ ‘Take-a-breakers’ and ‘Socialisers’— a new report released today claims.

The coffee shop sector continues to be one of the fastest growing areas of the UK foodservice scene, but operators are being warned they risk getting left behind if they fail to keep up with changes in trends.

According to BRITA Professional, which teamed up with The University of Edinburgh and Allegra Insight to carry out the study, coffee shop operators need to understand what each of the three identifiable groups want from their experience.

It says the research hows that they have distinct differences when it comes to the emotional connection they have with coffee, how they want to be interacted with and what they use the space for.

Shoppers’ are looking for a quiet, comfortable experience and are less inclined to build relationships with staff, while ‘Take-a-breakers’ visit throughout the day for a caffeine fix or a wind down. They are typically looking for a break in the daily routine and friendly interaction. ‘Socialisers’, meanwhile, want to meet other people – friends, family – and they put the most value on friendly staff.

For all groups atmosphere, ambience and interaction were stated as the top three factors that encourage repeat visit. Over half (58%) of consumers use the space to people watch and one in five use the space to meditate or relax.

In the future, consumers want to be able to use coffee shops as a meeting place, to wind down and attend events, the report said.

It concluded that the physical design of stores will need to change to create more interaction with the consumer – counters and bars will become lower and technology will transform customer engagement.

A comfortable environment is stated as an important factor by two thirds of consumers, but the three groups have differing perceptions of ‘comfort’. A ‘secluded nook’ is the most popular place to sit for ‘socialisers’ whereas ‘take-a-breakers’ prefer a window seat.

Miles Dawson, sales director of BRITA Professional, said: “Consumer loyalty is wavering, with even the most established chains at risk of brand fatigue. More than ever, operators must differentiate their coffee and their customer experience if they’re to succeed. To adapt to changing consumer demands, operators need to understand what today’s coffee consumers are looking for.”

BRITA unveiled the findings of its research at a special press conference held during this week’s London Coffee Fetsival.

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