Tea shops to follow in coffee’s footsteps

The growth of US-style coffee shops is set to accelerate with a chain planned for Eastern Europe and two tea manufacturers looking to apply the concept to the UK tea sector.

Newly created company Coffee Plus is to open ten coffee shops in Prague to cater particularly for the tourist market. Soon-to-merge groups F15 and Noble Associates are working on the brand.

“Eastern Europe is a growth market and there is a demand for good quality western-style products,” says Noble/F15 senior partner Graeme Noble.

The first shop is to open in three months and Coffee Plus has plans to expand across Eastern Europe.

Meanwhile, tea manufacturer Whittard of Chelsea intends to stretch the concept to tea by opening a chain of tea shops. It has appointed an unnamed consultancy to work on positioning and branding. Ian Logan Design is also believed to be involved.

One other tea manufacturer is thought to be considering the idea.

The established coffee shop chains are also expanding and reviewing their brands: 87-strong Costa Coffee Boutique has appointed an unnamed consultancy to review its brand, and managing director Mike Dowell says he plans to open 70 more stores in the UK in the next year.

US firm Starbucks recently bought 56-strong chain The Seattle Coffee House. It intends to rebrand it as Starbucks and open around 450 new outlets across Europe in the next five years, with the first Starbucks one opening in late August.

UK groups Gabrielle Shaw Communications and Chocolate are believed to be lined up to work on Starbucks’ UK brand.

Assorted Images has revamped the branding of The Bean’s only shop in London’s Shoreditch in preparation for expansion. A second branch is planned this summer with more to follow.

See News Analysis, page 8

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