According to The Automated Coffee Report 2021, premium self-serve coffee in the UK has doubled in size since 2016. The report credits this incredible growth to technological advances driving improvements in quality, efficiency, and consistency.
Self-serve options are increasingly popular among those who drink coffee, and an increasing number of coffee shop operators are switching to automated, self-serve solutions to improve operational efficiencies and reduce staff costs. With the COVID-19 pandemic still in full swing after more than 18 months, automation has become particularly favored in a time when people have been avoiding close human interaction.
Super automatic and bean-to-cup machine adoption rates are on the rise across the hospitality industry. The Automated Coffee Report 2021 predicts this could have an impact on the role of the barista, potentially moving it into a front-of-house position.
A third of consumers surveyed for the report say they are open to patronizing a coffee shop that requires zero human interaction. There is still a significant number of coffee lovers who prefer hand-prepared beverages, and they cited interaction and personalization of the baristas as their primary reasons.
Convenience remains the number one perceived benefit of self-serve coffee among the surveyed consumers. More than half of the respondents cited convenience as the main benefit of self-service, and 51% buy self-serve because it’s the only option at the shop they frequent.
That latter number is particularly interesting, as it shows that a little more than half of UK consumers do not buy their coffee at locations where hand-made drinks are available. The survey goes on to report that petrol and service stations are where consumers most frequently purchase their coffee (62%), followed by convenience stores (39%), and supermarkets (35%).
According to the World Coffee Portal, this report indicates that fully automated coffee machines will continue to rise, especially in food-focused businesses where coffee isn’t the primary product.
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