Investigating the success of independent coffee shops and cafes in the UK: findings from a pilot study

Jacqueline Douglas, Alexander Douglas, Michele Cano, David Moyes

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

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The main purpose of this study was to investigate those factors that UK independent coffee shop and café owners perceived as being critical to the success of their business as well as factors that they perceived as being barriers to running a successful business. It also sought to identify the criteria used by café owners and managers to measure their business performance.

A questionnaire was designed to survey a small sample of Coffee shop owners. The performance, success factor and barrier variables were identified from the extant literature and informed the survey instrument. A total of 30 questionnaires were returned – sufficient for this pilot study. Minitab v 18 and SPSS v 24 were used to analyse the data. Because of the small size of the pilot sample analysis was mostly descriptive.

Results indicated that the top 3 critical success factors were friendly staff, good quality food and high standards of hygiene. The top 3 barriers to success were high rents for premises, high local government business rates and high business taxes. Most owners used financial measures of performance such as sales and turnover but also customer satisfaction and loyalty, so important in services.. Interestingly none used market share as a performance measure, probably because of difficulties in determining that.

Practical implications
To succeed coffee shop owners need a good product and good service delivered by customer-friendly staff. A more empathetic local and national government with regards to taxation levels would also improve their chances of success.

This is the first paper to investigate the success factors for independent coffee shops and cafes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationExcellence in Services 21st International Conference
Subtitle of host publicationConference Proceedings
PublisherLe CNAM
Number of pages14
ISBN (Print)9788890432781
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventExcellence in Services 21st International Conference - Le CNAM, Paris, France
Duration: 30 Aug 201831 Aug 2018


ConferenceExcellence in Services 21st International Conference


  • Critical Success Factors
  • SMEs
  • Performance Measures
  • Entrepreneurs


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