Original article by Ian Boughton from www.coffee-house.org.uk
We are quite delighted to have got to the bottom of a curious story which appeared in some sections of the catering trade press last week – it was reported in the general food-trade media that Lavazza was apparently in the middle of a hell-for-leather dash for growth and had (we quote) ‘announced its ambitious plans to take on Costa Coffee, Cafe Nero and Starbucks…property agents have been appointed by Lavazza with the intention of opening up to 400 coffee shops across the UK, branded as Lavazza Espression. The London area will see up to 50 shops.
To go from the current handful of Espression sites to fighting the big three sounded such an incredible plan, we felt we had to ask Lavazza about it – and were told that they had said no such thing! It turns out that the ambitious statement came from the property agents retained by Catalyst Retail, the partner company which is opening the Espression sites, and what the catering press omitted to report was that the ‘target’ total is actually a ten-year possible projection.
“Four hundred stores is the potential we believe the Espression concept has in the UK in a decade,” Lavazza’s UK managing director, Luca Piccini, confirmed to us, adding pointedly: “… but to transform what is potential on paper into actual openings is the real challenge.”
Fifty potential sites had already been identified when Lavazza UK announced its partnership with Catalyst Retail last October. The flagship Espression café was launched in Harrods in December 2010, along with a number of Espression cafés situated in UK and Irish airports. The first Espression café to launch under the Catalyst Retail model was opened in the Trafford Centre, Manchester last November. A number of Espression cafes are planned to open in 2013 in Derby, Newbury, Clapham, Leeds and Wembley, but these are still dependent on securing suitable sites.