November 12, 2008 // Franchising.com // Coffee shops have officially overtaken pubs as the UK's favourite social hang outs, according to new research commissioned by Costa Coffee.
A staggering three quarters of the population (72%) prefer coffee shops to pubs for catch ups and chin wags. According to the research, 85% of Brits chose coffee shops as their top spot for a juicy gossip session with friends. Half (47%) believe coffee shops are now the perfect place for a first date, and one in four of us (24%) has found the cosy coffee shop setting with its inviting leather sofas has made them more inclined to flirt with a stranger or even staff. A quarter (24%) even believe that coffee shops are the prime location for a rendezvous with a secret lover.
"First dates are our business, so we were fascinated to learn that coffee shops have become the new location of choice for that all important first date. We know from feedback from our five million members that singles today are reluctant to give up their precious evenings to meet a new person for the first time, so meeting for a coffee is an ideal way to break the ice and see if you have chemistry together.
'A safe, relaxed, intimate environment which all coffee shops, including Costa Coffee seem to have adopted, is a very important element to a first date and of course you can linger for as long or as little as you like depending on how it goes!"
"It is quite clear that UK coffee shops have become an integral part of everyday life. With their warm and welcoming environments, they are quite simply the perfect place to meet friends and enjoy an affordable luxury whilst taking a break from our hectic lifestyles."
And it's not just gossip and romances that blossom in the humble coffee shop. Half of all people (49%) have used coffee shops to repair relationships, a third (32%) have struck up conversations with complete strangers, and 42% have held a job interview over coffee rather than using regular office space.
"Allegra's research over the past decade shows that branded coffee chains such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Caffè Nero are today an important part of the fabric of modern UK lifestyle.
'These outlets are now present throughout most areas of the country and deliver comfortable 'third space' environments where consumers feel free to relax, socialise, eat, drink, or just take some 'me time'. Coffee shops are particularly female friendly environments which adds to their appeal and even during the credit crunch coffee is seen as an affordable treat that customers do not want to deprive themselves of.
'With more than 50% of the UK adult population using coffee shops at least once per month, and more than a quarter of consumers visiting at least once per week, coffee shops are now more mainstream as pubs."
For more information, a full research report or images or interviews please contact:
Victoria Webster: 020 7025 7569 (email@example.com) Grant Richmond-Coggan: 020 7025 7517 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The research was conduced on behalf of Costa Coffee by Opinion Matters in October 2008, with a total of 1,040 people surveyed, all of which have visited a coffee shop.
Costa is now officially the largest and fastest growing coffee shop chain in the UK. It opened its 1000th milestone store in March 2008 in Moscow.
Costa was founded by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa in 1971. With 821 stores in the UK and over 300 internationally, Costa has enjoyed a remarkable period of growth since it opened its first store. It now operates in 25 countries.
Costa Coffee is the first UK coffee shop chain to commit to sourcing its beans from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms.
Costa set up a registered charity (no.327489) in 2006 called 'The Costa Foundation' to give something back to the communities within the countries from which Costa sources its coffee beans.
Costa is part of the Whitbread family of brands.