Almost half of consumers wouldn’t return to a pub that serves poor quality coffee

New research by total coffee solution partner to Irish Pubs Global, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland has highlighted a significant opportunity for pubs to increase trade through an improved coffee offer. With consumers rating the quality of coffee as average – just three out of five – the findings reinforce the demand for better coffee in non-specialist outlets.

The survey of 1,011 consumers by Allegra World Coffee Portal, on behalf of the total coffee solution supplier, also reveals that almost half (44%) of consumers would be put off returning to a pub that serves poor quality coffee. That includes Irish pubs. Conversely 41% would buy more coffee more often in pubs if the quality was better.

The report reaffirms that coffee is the on-trend drink of today with more than a third (33%) of consumers buying coffee out of home at least four times per week and almost two-thirds of consumers willing to pay £2.99 for a great cup of coffee.

Other key findings include:

  • More than a quarter (28%) of consumers state that, if it opened earlier, they would visit a pub or bar for their morning coffee, rather than a high-street coffee shop

  • Almost two-thirds (63%) of consumers believe that a high-quality cup of coffee at the end of a meal makes the difference between a good quality experience and a truly great one

  • Almost a third of diners (31%) often order coffee instead of a dessert when eating out

  • Almost half (44%) of consumers eat out at least once a week

More in-depth research on behalf of the total coffee solution provider has revealed that a third of Irish consumers purchase coffee out of home at least once a day. Taste is the most important factor when buying coffee and is reflected in price expectations. Consumers would be willing to spend €3.08 for a great cup of coffee – a 21% increase since 2013. And one in ten would spend over €5 on that perfect cup.

The survey by Allegra World Coffee Portal, also revealed that Dubliners consumer the most coffee, with 40% drinking coffee out of home at least once a day, followed closely by those in the South West (Cork and Kerry) with 38%. Counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow along with the midlands counties (Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath) also came in the top four for their out of home coffee consumption (joint 30%).

Other insights include:

  • Women are more brand loyal than men (31% vs. 23%)

  • The Americano has surged in popularity with a quarter of a million more consumers choosing to regularly drink it out of home vs. 2015*

  • The most popular coffees on the menu:

1) Cappuccino (55%)

2) Americano (42%)

3) Latte (41%)

Phil Smith, head of category & insight, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland comments: “Lots of pub operators are doing coffee well but there’s still significant room for improvement across the market. For pubs and bars keen to diversify, grow and retain their customer base, or to set themselves apart from the competition, high-quality coffee is the key. For pubs with a strong food offer, coffee quality significantly impacts on customer satisfaction. It’s an integral part of eating out, with three quarters of diners valuing coffee quality as an important part of the overall experience.

“The Irish coffee market is making big steps in terms of quality. And this is predicted to continue to grow with coffee shops being forecast to grow seven percent for the next five years. The results from our research show that taste is the most important factor for Irish consumers when buying coffee. And with one in ten willing to spend over €5 on that perfect cup, it’s more important than ever to get your coffee offer right. The surge in popularity of the Americano also indicates that consumers are increasingly drinking coffee without milk – meaning that the focus on quality and consistency of the coffee produced needs to be king so that consumers get a great experience every time.”

“The results from our research clearly show that consumers are willing to drink more coffee in pubs and bars – in turn, operators must be willing to give coffee the same attention as they do their alcohol or food offers.

Anthony Pender, chairman of the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), says: “Coffee is the on-trend drink of today. This isn’t a fad – coffee is here to stay. For pub and bar operators looking to invest in their future, their business, and grow their customer base, coffee is a revenue generator like no other. The findings in this report highlight key opportunities that operators should pay attention to if they are going to take advantage of this revenue stream.”

Colm O’Reilly, interim CEO of Irish Pubs Global says: “Coffee is an excellent revenue generator for Irish pubs with a high profit margin, especially at times of day when customers want an alternative to an alcoholic beverage. It has significant scope for growth and is increasingly becoming a key component for successful Irish pub businesses. There is now increased opportunity for the Irish pub trade with an improved coffee offering.” 

Allegra World Coffee Portal surveyed 1,011 consumers on behalf of UCC Coffee UK & Ireland about their perceptions of coffee in pubs and bars. The research was conducted in December 2016.

About UCC Coffee UK & Ireland

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland’s mission is to create the best possible coffee experience whenever and wherever it’s brewed. Its market-leading total coffee solution aims to help its customers be outstanding in a fiercely competitive market.

It does this by putting the needs of its customers at the heart of its business and by understanding every small but important detail that goes in to brewing a great coffee and delivering an extraordinary coffee experience.

UCC Coffee UK & Ireland is committed to continually redefining its total coffee solution. It prides itself on developing and bringing innovative new products to market, meaning it can work in partnership with its customers to deliver a powerful combination of insight, the finest fresh-roasted beans, roasted in the UK, and state-of-the-art coffee machines.

Its total coffee solution includes well-known coffee brands including Lyons, ThreeSixty°, Grand Café and Orang Utan Coffee, award-winning own-label coffee concepts and the world’s most innovative machines from Dalla Corte, Nuova Simonelli, Victoria Arduino and Thermoplan.

It provides access to unique market research and insight, category management, accredited training, brand concepts and comprehensive service packages to keep coffee profitable and ahead of the curve.

To view the full report from UCC Coffee UK & Ireland, click on the infographic below.