Are specialty espresso retailers turning into extra widespread in airports?


Amongst many different meals and beverage retailers, espresso retailers are a standard sight in airports around the globe. They supply travellers with an area to loosen up and revel in a beverage earlier than taking a flight.

Normally, most espresso retailers in airports are operated by bigger chains, reminiscent of Starbucks, Costa Espresso, and Dunkin’. Nevertheless, over the previous decade or so, increasingly specialty coffee roasters and brands have opened locations in airports to serve high-quality coffee to international travellers.

So, how can this variation the patron expertise in airports? And what do specialty espresso companies want to think about when getting into this market?

To seek out out extra, I spoke with two espresso professionals who function companies in airports. Learn on to be taught what they needed to say.

You might also like our article on whether airlines are starting to offer better coffee.

a black and white picture of an airport coffee shop

Opening a espresso store in an airport

In lots of airports around the globe, you’re more than likely to come back throughout a multinational espresso chain store – particularly a Starbucks.

The corporate is especially outstanding in US airports due to a long-term exclusivity agreement between the coffee chain and HMSHost, one of many main meals and beverage operators within the nation’s airports.

Nevertheless, in 2020, each Starbucks and HMSHost determined to finish the settlement. The concessionary introduced that it might open more local coffee shops in US airports, because it says airport operators are requesting extra specialty espresso manufacturers.

As such, we’ve got seen an increase within the variety of third wave espresso retailers and roasters in US airports – together with Stumptown and Intelligentsia. 

However this pattern isn’t simply well-liked in North America; extra specialty espresso retailers are opening in Europe and Latin America, too.

One such instance is Café Pergamino, a specialty roaster in Colombia. The corporate operates a location in José María Córdova Worldwide Airport in Medellín.  

Pedro Echavarría is the overall supervisor of Café Pergamino. He tells me: “We’re additionally going to open our second location in the principle corridor of the airport within the coming months.”

Yiannis Taloumis is the CEO and Head of High quality at Taf Coffee in Greece, which operates an airport location in Athens.

“The Taf Retail Store in Athens Worldwide Airport was open from December 2021 till Might 2022,” he says. “In Might 2022, we opened the Cultivos Espresso airport location, which is an idea impressed by Taf [focusing on higher-quality coffee].

“We partnered with Choose Service Accomplice to open Cultivos Espresso in Athens Worldwide Airport,” he provides. “The store serves high-quality espresso blends and single origins sourced from the Taf Direct Relationship Programme.”

How is the shopper expertise affected?

The idea of a espresso store as a “third place” in society has been prevalent for the reason that late Nineteen Eighties. Whereas house is the primary place and work is the second place, third locations are extra relaxed public areas the place individuals can work together in a spread of various methods.  

As most airports are busy locations, convenience performs an vital function within the client expertise. Naturally, this implies espresso retailers in airports are not often used as a 3rd place and extra in order a way of rapidly buying a espresso to go.

“It’s important to focus in your takeaway service as a result of fewer persons are going to sit down in and drink their espresso,” Pedro advises. That is largely as a result of clients in airport areas usually tend to buy takeaway espresso to allow them to have extra time to navigate by means of the airport.

Not solely does this imply roasters and low retailers have to deal with their takeaway choices, in addition they want to search out methods to streamline service. This manner, clients can obtain their orders rapidly, but in addition to a excessive stage of high quality – as is anticipated from specialty espresso retailers.

Nevertheless, Pedro tells me that reaching this may be difficult.

“Airport areas could be good for high-volume gross sales, however they will additionally restrict the shopper expertise,” he says. “There must be a stability.

“Managing a espresso store in an airport is completely different to a extra conventional location,” he provides. “Our common location dimension is about 150m2, whereas our airport location is round 20m2, so house is among the predominant constraints.”

To beat these difficulties, specialty espresso retailers in airports ought to present some seating for patrons preferring to remain in. Though this may be difficult – particularly if house is extra restricted – giving individuals the choice to sit down down with their espresso may very well be one in every of some ways to reinforce the shopper expertise.

Customers order at Cultivos Coffee in Athens International Airport

Specialty espresso retailers in airports want to think about their worth proposition for patrons at airport areas, in addition to how a lot tools they can set up.

As a part of this, espresso retailers ought to consider what drinks to incorporate of their menus. For essentially the most half, espresso-based drinks are appropriate due to faster turnaround instances, whereas different drinks which take longer to arrange is probably not applicable for airport areas.

“We don’t have pour overs at our airport store,” Pedro tells me. “There isn’t sufficient time to arrange them as individuals need their coffees rapidly.

“Pour overs are one of many top-selling drinks in our extra conventional areas, so we attempt to compensate by having completely different filter coffees obtainable [on batch brew],” he provides.

In addition to drinks, espresso retailers also needs to take into consideration their retail merchandise, reminiscent of complete bean espresso, merchandise, and brewing tools.

“A giant share of our gross sales is retail luggage of espresso,” Pedro explains. “For an airport location, this may have a huge effect as your model can attain a a lot wider client base.”

In the end, these elements can even affect workers coaching and retailer structure – particularly with considerably smaller flooring and counter house.

“One of many challenges for baristas at Cultivos Espresso is to rapidly present the entire needed info to clients, [such as origin, variety, roast profile, and flavour notes],” Yiannis tells me. “It’s key to discover a stability between informing the patron and respecting their restricted period of time to spend in-store.”

People standing at the front of the Klatch Coffee shop at the terminal 7 of the Los Angeles international airport LAX

Broader issues for airport areas

Whereas an airport may not be number-one on the listing for espresso manufacturers seeking to broaden, Yiannis explains the advantages of doing so.

“Having a specialty espresso store in an airport can open your doorways to a a lot wider vary of individuals,” he tells me. “It may give your model an opportunity to shift shoppers’ perceptions of specialty espresso.

“You possibly can introduce extra individuals to higher-quality espresso, too,” he provides.

Nevertheless, airport areas can definitely have their distinctive challenges.

Barista workflow is very vital as we’ve got to understand that clients are travellers and due to this fact are prone to be in a rush,” Yiannis says. “However on the identical time, we’ve got to successfully talk our values, such because the Taf Direct Relationship Programme, in a a lot shorter time frame.”

One other important ingredient of opening an airport espresso store is making the choice between remaining as an impartial enterprise or beginning a franchise retailer.

Pedro explains the latter is turning into more and more well-liked.

“Most airports are attempting to franchise shops to be run by main meals and beverage operators,” he says. “Café Pergamino has been capable of stay impartial as a result of we opened our airport location previous to the rising demand for franchising.”

Because the specialty espresso market continues to develop, opening an airport location may very well be a viable method for some rising espresso manufacturers to broaden.

Nevertheless, it’s clear that these areas is probably not essentially the most appropriate for each enterprise. As such, when increasing into this market, manufacturers ought to take into account the assorted challenges related to working an airport espresso store – in addition to ensuring their operational strategy is completely different to a daily metropolis or city retailer location.

Loved this? Then learn our article on understanding the self-serve coffee machine market.

Photograph credit: Taf Coffee

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