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UK consumers continue to embrace coffee shop apps and drive-thru

World Coffee Portal’s Project Café UK 2022 report shows UK consumers continue to embrace branded coffee shop apps as a small but growing drive-thru market emerges among major branded coffee chains

61% of UK branded coffee chain visitors have downloaded a coffee shop app | Photo credit: Costa Coffee

UK consumers are continuing to embrace digital transactions in coffee shops, including app-based delivery and click & collect. Data from Project Café UK 2022 shows 61% of 50,000+ UK consumers surveyed in 2021 indicated they had downloaded a coffee shop app, with 36% purchasing a beverage to collect from a coffee shop over the last 12 months.
A growing number of operators have invested in beverage delivery, including Costa Coffee, which in February 2021 partnered with Deliveroo to launch a trial at 500 of its UK stores. Meanwhile, Greggs has significantly expanded its third-party delivery partnership with Just Eat to 1,000 stores. Boutique bakery chain, Gail’s, has also introduced delivery in London, a proposition it credited with boosting its full-year profits.
While just 16% of consumers surveyed have ordered beverage for delivery over the last 12 months, nearly a quarter (24%) would be open to beverage delivery if the option were more readily available. However, challenges surrounding spillage, temperature and cost must also be addressed and present a challenge for coffee chains utilising third-party delivery services.
Drive-thru is also on the increase, with the market now comprising 578 stores. Market leader Costa Coffee has added 75 locations since 2020 for a total of 275. Starbucks operates 270 sites and Leon opened its first drive-thru store in 2021. Highlighting the commercial potential of the format, 57% of UK consumers surveyed say they would purchase beverages from a drive-thru if the facility were more readily available.

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