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Fri 6th Nov 2015 - Horizons – artisan coffee and Mexican lead ‘Ones to Watch’
Horizons – artisan coffee and Mexican lead ‘Ones to Watch’: Despite the proliferation of branded coffee shops on our high streets, independent, artisan outlets specialising in high quality, freshly roasted coffee with a strong food offer are continuing to emerge and expand, satisfying the demands of an increasingly discerning coffee drinker. This was the conclusion of Horizons’ latest Ones to Watch survey, which tracks the growth of new and emerging brands with between five and 25 outlets and which have shown over 20% growth over the past three years. The biannual survey puts coffee shops in its number one slot in terms of percentage growth over the past three years, and anticipates further expansion of this sector. “We have adopted the coffee purchasing habit, but this third generation of artisan coffee shops is now bringing a higher quality product to the high street often with a health-conscious, home-produced food offer that is appealing to today’s consumer,” said Horizons’ analyst Nicola Knight. “There is an element of coffee drinkers who are no longer satisfied with standard coffee, but want something higher quality which is why we are seeing these chains growing fairly rapidly.” Raising the bar in the takeaway coffee market are brands such as Beany Green (with five outlets) – an independent coffee shop serving healthy salads, wraps and award-winning banana bread, east London-based espresso bar operator Grind (with four outlets) and Yorkshire-based Filmore & Union (with eight outlets). Novel coffee bars also feature in the latest Ones to Watch report, including Red Kiosk Company, which operates 12 units out of unused, iconic red telephone boxes. Ziferblat is another brand challenging the norm by charging customers for the time they spend in the shop, with free coffee thrown in. The Russian-owned brand now has three sites in the UK, changing a flat rate of 5p per minute with superfast Wi-Fi and free coffee, cake and biscuits. Knight added: “Entrepreneurs like the owners of Ziferblat have realised that consumers use coffee shops in a different way to other food outlets. Coffee shops have the advantage that customers, whether alone or with friends, feel happy to hang out in their stores. This offers a huge opportunity for entrepreneurial operators.” The Ones to Watch survey shows that Mexican brands continue to be the second strongest growth area, making their appearance on high streets, shopping centres and transport hubs in the guise of burritos, tacos and nachos. Brands such as Barburrito, Benito’s Hat Mexican Kitchen, Chilango and Chipotle Mexican Grill make up a sector that has seen growth of 146% over the past three years.“Mexican food is particularly suited to fast-service, on-the-go eating, yet can be efficiently personalised to order,” said Knight. “Operators have this balance between speed of service and personalisation down to a fine art with many offering online ordering or ‘click and collect’ services to keep waiting time to a minimum.” When quizzed about the biggest challenges facing their business, 68% of the foodservice entrepreneurs that took part in the survey said property availability was their biggest concern, along with the cost of acquiring new sites. This has increased compared with last year’s survey when 38% said finding sites was their biggest challenge. Maintaining product and store consistency throughout the growth phase and gaining planning consent were also mentioned as issues. For the second year running Pret was named as the foodservice operator most admired by respondents. The high street giant was praised for its consistency, high standards and quality. Top Ten Ones to Watch new outlets: 1. Coffee shop (122 outlets); 2. Mexican burrito fast casual (113); 3. Italian casual dining (102); 4. Sandwich bar quick service (70); 5. Healthy quick service (68); 6. Juice bar (63); 7. World buffet casual dining (56); 8. Cosmopolitan casual dining (54); 8= Gourmet burger casual dining (54); 10. Thai casual dining (52). To qualify for inclusion in Ones To Watch a restaurant or quick service concept must have between five and 25 outlets and a growth in outlet numbers of at least 20% over the past three years combined. Brands with fewer than five sites, but the potential to expand rapidly are listed in the survey as Bubbling Under brands.

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