Roslyn Coombe, Marketing Manager


"After a remarkable two decades of sustained growth, the coffee market is now an intrinsic part of daily life in the UK & Ireland, but it is facing increased challenges from a changing retail environment, economic pressure, and the on-going impact of COVID-19."

Allegra Project Cafe 2021

With the demand for great coffee at home increasing during lockdowns, consumer habits and expectations on the subject of coffee have undoubtedly changed. Online sales of coffee and brew kit soared as people working from home found ways to substitute their daily flat white.

Several big coffee chains introduced new business models to combat the decline in in-store footfall - from cashless technology, coffee delivery, and coffee subscription services - to store refurbishment.

These new consumer behaviors and business models all need careful consideration by cafe operators as you prepare to open your doors once again.

We've read and dissected the Allegra report, identified the four key areas for action, and pulled together a comprehensive bank of top tips and resources to help you accelerate out of lockdown.

(Header image courtesy of RWRD app)

1. Build Confidence for re-opening

Ok, so we've been here before - but there's no harm in reiterating. When lockdown restrictions across the country start to ease, cafes should think about how they can make their consumers feel safe. Building customer confidence will once again be paramount.

According to Allegra, consumers believe that the 3 most important provisions that all cafes should have in place to build consumer confidence are hand sanitiser at entry & exit points (61%), enforcement of social distancing (56%), and more frequent cleaning (53%). But what more can we do beyond these obvious measures?

Our Top Tip

  • Complete our Hygiene & Safety Checklist. You may recall we published this comprehensive guide after the last lockdown, covering everything from cleaning and training to restarting your coffee machine. The advice remains the same and we'd urge you to revisit it for this reopening too.

2. Explore new Business Models

The Allegra report states that 42% of consumers would now happily use a click and collect, and over 22% would be willing to sign up for a coffee shop subscription. Even after the restrictions have eased, it is anticipated that consumers will continue to enjoy the benefits of these services.

Our Top Tips

  • If you haven't already so, consider expanding your cafe offering and creating an online store. It's never too late and could continue to serve you well long after the pandemic. Out of the box e-commerce solutions like Shopify make it easier than ever.
  • Create experiences and gifts using your produce that you can sell online and in-store. From afternoon tea boxes to coffee brewing bundles, the heightened appetite for indulgence delivered to your door is set to continue
  • Maximize your takeaway trade by offering and prominently displaying impulse purchases and meal deals
  • Build your customer loyalty and average spend by introducing coffee subscriptions and digital loyalty programmes. Check out our recent article on digital loyalty for further advice.


Nearly half of those surveyed by Allegra (47.8%) like to try new beverage products in coffee shops. What’s more, the use of syrups and alternative mylks is continuing to rise.

Our Top Tips

4. Give ethical consumerism a voice

A particularly interesting finding from the Allegra report is that over half of consumers (53.8%) want coffee shops to do more to inform them about how their coffee is sourced.

Our Top Tips

  • Ensure your baristas can talk confidently about the coffee blend they serve. Its origins, certifications and taste profile. To understand your Matthew Algie coffee a little better head over to the coffee section of our website or ask your account manager.
  • Feature your coffee's certification and sourcing story on your menu boards, website and POS. Matthew Algie coffee customers will find a number of Fairtrade case studies on our blog and imagery is available through your account manager.
  • Engage with your consumers on social media about your coffee's story. A suite of Matthew Algie social media assets and copy suggestions are available to support you. Ask your account manager for access.

About Roslyn Coombe

Customer Marketing Manager, Matthew Algie

Since graduating in 2012 from the University of Strathclyde with an Honours degree in Marketing, Roslyn has worked for several large national brands and owned a successful restaurant in Spain.

Roslyn’s strengths have always been in Hospitality and Marketing, so working for Matthew Algie allows her to successfully combine both passions.

In her role as Customer Marketing Manager, Roz works hard to get under the skin of each and every customer, helping them to maximise their coffee offering.