Coffee bars are now ingrained in our social culture and are a way of life in the UK with people seeing them as an opportunity for momentary escape from their busy lives.

As customers become increasingly loyal to certain coffee brands, they are able to recognise that brand not just through graphics and colour schemes but also through furniture, walls, flooring and counter specifications as well as through typography and wall art.

Here, Paul Hirst, Senior Consultant at RDA gives his views on Coffee Shop branding through design.

Paul has over a decade of experience with RDA during which time he has worked on café design for major coffee brands including Costa and Starbucks. He also has around 30 years at Senior Management/ Director level in Blue Chip Hotels groups, Brewing and Retail groups, and Hospitality driven companies.

What is your specific involvement in the design of coffee bars?

“Client facing meetings to develop the brief. Conducting Site surveys and offering theoretical and practical advice to ensure designs meet the clients’ specific criteria. I am also involved with the actual design or oversee the design process to ensure the brief is fully met.”

Who are the main clients you have worked for in the past?

“Costa, Starbucks, Cafe Ritazza and Fair Trade.”

From your experience with RDA, have you noticed an increase in the popularity of coffee bar design over the years?

“Definitely and I have also noticed that when we design food outlets, coffee has seen an uplift in prominence and quality. The growth in quality coffee outlets and sales has generally increased year on year in the UK and there are now approximately 22,000 coffee shops in the UK.”

What are the most important elements in designing a coffee bar?

“Utilising the space available effectively to develop the most appropriate use of space and customer flow. The ambiance and general surroundings must also be carefully considered to maximise the positive customer experience. This will ensure that the coffee bar is able and ready to take advantage of the customer potential.”

How important a consideration is branding in coffee bar design?

“Branding is very important in terms of driving customer loyalty and preferences. However, there is a significant amount of kudos attached to smaller independent coffee concepts with personalised branding. Branding of major coffee chains has the advantage of giving customers known products and values and known price points and is often targeted at specific consumer groups usually based on age ranges or demographics.”

Other than signage and graphics, do you think it is possible to communicate a coffee shop brand through interior design?

“Yes. This can be done through wall finishes, colour schemes, furniture lighting and counter design as is the case with major coffee brands. This is reliant on repeat customers who are familiar with brand standards.”

To find out how RDA can help with your next catering project please call 0844 873 4993

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