7 coffee shop industry trends operators need to be on top of in 2023

Cafes & Coffee Shops, Digital Ordering, Latest from Vita Mojo

January 16, 2023

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Join us for a look ahead at the coffee shop trends we expect to see in 2023…

2022 has bean and gone, and the new year is well underway. 

No one had an easy 2022 in hospitality, least of all coffee shops. Between the labour crisis and spiralling costs, coffee shop operators were forced to innovate to stay strong in the market. 

But by embracing new ways of working, coffee shop brands are coming out of the gate swinging. 

Global giant Starbucks reported that it exceeded pre-pandemic revenue. Pret a Manger announced a return to profitable operations as it steams ahead with plans to double the size of its pre-COVID model.  

Smaller players also drove growth in 2022. Boutique coffee brand Grind cited the success of their coffee carts and retail partnerships as key to their 105% annual sales growth

Now, every coffee shop owner’s gaze is fixed on the year ahead. 

Want to get a jump on it? These are the key coffee shop trends to stay ahead of to ensure 2023 isn’t a grind. 🔮

1. Create a consistent and personalised loyalty scheme

Loyalty schemes have been a staple of coffee shops for a few years now, whether that’s collecting stamps on a physical card or through points on a branded mobile app.

The nature of coffee shop customer behaviour (frequent repeat visitors with the same order each time) lends itself perfectly to a loyalty scheme. So the question is: how can you strengthen yours to win in 2023?

Digital loyalty solutions that work across multiple channels are changing the game for coffee operators. Nick Liddle, Commercial Director at Vita Mojo, highlighted consistency and personalisation as the two key aspects you should be targeting with your loyalty setup:

"Customers should be able to build towards a reward in the same points ecosystem no matter how they order. Move away from offering separate loyalty schemes instore and online, and instead provide a unified, digital loyalty experience across all channels."

He continued: You can then use your digital loyalty scheme to offer a personalised experience, with unique offers linked to your customers’ buying habits. This is the key to driving customer loyalty and brand affinity.”

coffee click & collect

2. Don’t overlook the value of coffee subscriptions

One of the biggest success stories of 2022 was the continued growth of the Pret a Manger coffee subscription. Now seeing over one million transactions per week, the scheme has played a huge part in Pret’s growth. It also provides an invaluable shop window for the brand to market its products. 

MD Guy Meakin spoke on the strength of the data the subscription provides Pret at the 2022 Omnichannel Foodservice Conference

"The insights we get allow us to build the relationship and give a bit back, making sure we are offering unique ways to continue the magic between us and the customer.”

Once they launched their new unlimited coffee subscription alongside digital ordering technology, LEON saw a 233% increase in Click & Collect orders.

Between the invaluable data they provide and the boost in revenue, you’ll see more and more coffee brands embracing subscription models as the year goes on. 

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3. Delight customers with digital ordering

Coffee operators have been slow in adopting digital ordering – specifically self-order kiosks – despite the benefits it brings to the unique setup of coffee shops. 

We’ve heard from some operators the belief that orders have to be taken by a member of staff for that all-important personalised experience. However in reality, during peak times there’s actually no personalisation whatsoever, as the order taker is simply an order taker, trying to get the queue down ASAP. 

And on the subject of queues – nothing can be more off putting to your customer at peak time just looking for a morning coffee. Research by Allegra revealed that 41% of coffee shop customers would be deterred by queues of five or more.

By unlocking digital ordering, personalisation can still remain at the end of the interaction when the customer collects, whilst the whole process becomes more efficient. Increased speed of service gets that morning coffee in their hand quicker, and operators stop losing customers to long lines.

Consumer preferences are evidently shifting towards a self-order model, too: 

63% of customers

find it easier to browse a menu on a kiosk.

83% of customers

find it frustrating to queue and place an order in a traditional setting

51% of customers

spend more when ordering on a kiosk

Whether it’s self-order kiosks, Click & Collect, or a branded mobile app, digital ordering is a win-win. Consumers love the speed and convenience of digital ordering, staff love the automation of manual tasks, and operators love the boost in revenue and footfall. 

LEON has now introduced self-order kiosks in over 80% of its sites, reporting a boost in ATV by 15%. 95% of orders are placed digitally, as Marketing Director Mariam French explains:

"Kiosks have been really commercially important to us, especially with the problems around labour. Rather than having two to five POS points, we can now install up to ten kiosks per site. Digital ordering is now the lion’s share.”

4. Combat the labour crisis with automation

Data from UKHospitality shows 11% of roles in hospitality are currently vacant. 32% of businesses were forced to reduce opening hours during the festive season due to a shortage in staff. 

The cost of labour is also on the up, as potential employees expect increasingly higher wages in a competitive job market. 

As the labour crisis continues into 2023, coffee shop operators need to shift their focus away from a never ending and expensive recruitment drive. Instead, they should look towards establishing a working model with the reduced staff they have.

Increase throughput even when running a smaller team with digital ordering channels. Automate the mundane by introducing self-order kiosks, allowing you to redeploy staff to focus on more valuable hospitality tasks than being anchored to the POS.

And delight customers more! Offer them a frictionless ordering experience without a queue in sight, whilst also providing personalised service with a smile when it’s time to collect. 

5. Stay ahead of consumer demand with sustainable sourcing and milk alternatives

Sustainability

In the 2022 NCDT Specialty Coffee Report, four of the top five impacts on purchase intent for coffee consumers were linked to sustainability. These included fair prices for the farmers, environmental sustainability, and safe labour practices, clearly indicating that sustainability is a strong driver for consumer behaviour in your coffee shop. 

Don’t get left behind. Make sure your operation is invested in sustainable and ethical coffee production, and make sure your customers know about it.

Milk alternatives

Whether it’s for dietary requirements, ethical reasons or just plain preference, coffee shop consumers now expect a variety of milk alternatives when they pop in. Soy, oat or even the hotly tipped potato milk: your coffee shop needs to be fully equipped with alternatives to meet this demand. 

Keep in mind that the more customisation your offer, the more complex your operation becomes. 

Make sure you invest in the right restaurant tech system to ensure the order process runs as smoothly as possible, whatever milk they think of next. 

6. Optimise your tech stack

Over the last few years, coffee operators have tended to buy point solutions to solve a specific need, such as a separate POS, app or loyalty programme. 

This has become complex and time-consuming to manage. It’s also holding operators back from creating a consistent customer journey that looks and feels the same on every channel.

Coffee shop tech should be an enabler, not an obstacle. 

In 2023, coffee businesses will look to streamline their tech. Moving away from a fragmented tech stack, operators will look for a single, connected system for mission-critical tasks – bringing together the essential processes of running a coffee shop in one system. 

Forget logging into one system to make menu changes, then logging into another to push the same edits for another delivery partner. Stop wasting time chasing multiple tech providers for simple bug fixes. Wave goodbye to barista tablet hell and enjoy the calm of having orders from all channels come through one system. 

7. Use menu engineering to grow revenue

2022 hit coffee shops hard with spiralling costs of living, labour and produce. 

Because of this, coffee shop price increases into 2023 are inevitable

But at a time when consumers are having to seriously tighten their belts, operators will be understandably nervous about significant price increases on their menu. Instead, they might turn to menu engineering to help ease the burden of rising costs.

With the adoption of coffee shop technology comes the ability to engineer digital menus to maximise profits.

Put simply, it’s the process of operators analysing the profitability and popularity of their products, and then optimising their menus to ensure they’re leveraging the most profitable items.

Boost revenue by pushing the most profitable items. Quickly adapt your menu to save on waste costs. Combat inflation by being reactive with a menu that can be changed at any time. Menu engineering unlocks a host of revenue benefits that are hiding in your menu setup.  

We expect to see menu engineering becoming an essential tool in coffee shop operators’ arsenals as more embrace tech..

 Want to learn more about the art of menu engineering? Check out our full guide here. 

2023 coffee operator trends: the last word 

The difference between getting through 2023 and thriving through it lies in choosing the right tools for your coffee shop operation. 

Book a free digital discovery consultation below with a tech expert to hear more about how an operating system can transform your coffee shop operation into 2023 and beyond . 

Speak to a member of the team

Talk to the Vita Mojo team today and see how our technology can elevate your brand, drive sales performance and increase efficiency across your business. Just leave a few details and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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