LONDON Dec 17 Not content with an expanding
number of stores at home and abroad, Britain's Costa Coffee is
hoping a new self-service machine crafted by Ferrari designers
and Harry Potter website techies will help it grow in offices
and similar locations.
Britain's largest coffee chain, part of Whitbread Plc
, has grown rapidly on the back of rising demand for
affordable coffee treats and aims to double sales to 2 billion
pounds ($3.3 billion) by 2018, through expansion at home and
abroad in places such as China.
Costa has more than 2,770 stores worldwide and has achieved
44 quarters of like-for-like sales growth in Britain, helping
Whitbread shares rise 43 percent in a year.
In addition to increasing its store chain, Costa also plans
to grow its Costa Express self-service machines arm, which give
it a presence in places where a full store doesn't fit.
Costa Express, born in May 2011 after the acquisition of a
company called Coffee Nation, has already grown from 877
self-serve machines to some 3,000, a target originally set for
2016 but reached after putting around 2,500 machines into UK
retail stores and gasoline station forecourts, including those
run by Royal Dutch Shell Plc.
Now the company wants to reach 6,000 machines in the UK by
2018, but to do so is relying on a new, smaller and more
attractive machine named "Marlow" to grab the attention of
coffee lovers in locations like offices, universities and
"(The current machine) is fantastic in the forecourt arena.
It's big, it's red, it's conspicuous, it generates impulse
purchase at petrol (gas) stations, but it's just a bit too big,
red and conspicuous for an office," Jim Slater, managing
director of Costa Enterprises told an investor conference.
According to research group Allegra Strategies, consumers
are drinking twice as many cups of coffee in the workplace as in
coffee shops, while Costa has put the UK market at around 20,000
Costing 13,000 pounds to make, broadly in line with its
predecessor, the new machine can churn out some 240 different
drinks (versus 32 currently) and has a sleeker design courtesy
of Italian design specialist Pininfarina, famous for
designing cars such as the Ferrari Berlinetta.
The machine's control screen was developed by gaming
specialists Atomhawk, who helped create Pottermore, the
interactive site for Harry Potter fans, while customers will
also smell coffee and hear coffee shop sounds mixed by eMixpro -
a firm more used to working with likes of U2 and Katy Perry.
Costa already has nearly 30 of the new machines on trial in
Britain, France, Denmark and the UAE as it tries to grow its
international business too.
The current Costa Express machines make 6,000 pounds profit
a year and the business contributed 7 million pounds of profit
in 2012/13 before overheads and marketing costs.
The Costa business overall makes around a third of the 2
billion pounds in revenue chalked up by Whitbread, which also
includes Brewers Fayre restaurants and Premier Inn hotels, where
Whitbread aims to expand its UK rooms by 45 percent to 75,000 by
2018. ($1 = 0.6143 British pounds)