Costa Caffeinates Europe

UK's best and fairest / “We are thrilled to have been voted the Nation’s Favourite coffee shop for the twelfth consecutive year. We continue to emerge stronger from the pandemic thanks to the hard work of our talented baristas and the ongoing support of our franchisees, partners, and suppliers and all our Costa Coffee colleagues around the UK," said interim UK&I Managing Director, Adrian Cook.
The London based coffee chain now the crema of Europe.

Costa is the UK’s favourite coffee shop. It operates almost 2,500 cafes nationwide. Don’t just take our word for it - according to Allegra Insight’s independent customer panel, it’s won the nations favourite coffee shop 12 years running. But it’s not just the UK involved with this coffee love affair. As of 2021, Costa Coffee ranked as the leading coffee franchise in the whole of Europe, accounting for a total of 3,148 units across the continent. Out-ranking McCafe and Starbucks who placed second and third, respectively.

Costa’s journey began in London, 1971, when Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa founded a coffee roastery to supply the local cafes across the city. The bean business grew, and in 1978 they opened their own store in Vauxhall Bridge Road, London. The brothers left the company in 1995, selling the it on to hospitality company Whitbread – which owns prominent brands such as Beefeater and Premier Inn.

Whitbred, helped turn Costa into an international name, opening the first international store in Dubai in 1999. Ten years later, the company acquired the Polish chain, Coffeeheaven, for £36 million, which added 79 stores into the central and eastern European market. By 2007, the company overtook Starbucks in the UK, as the British ditched their morning tea for coffee. Then in 2019, the Coca-Cola Company purchased Costa for a casual £3.9 billion.  

The company is a true industry leader and pioneer. To this day, they still use original Costa brothers’ method of slow-roasting their coffee beans. Blending 6 Arabica beans to 1 Robusta - served daily across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This comes from their very own roastery located in Basildon, Essex, which was the first industrial processing building in the World to be awarded BREEAM Outstanding (2014); optimising overall performance in energy, water, acoustics, materials and ecology.

Costa were the first UK coffee chain committed to sourcing 100% of their coffee and cocoa from Rainforest Alliance Certified farms. The Costa Foundation is the company’s own charity initiative. It helps people in coffee-growing areas get out of poverty, by setting up schools and providing quality education. Since 2012, they have established 90 schools and educated over 90,000 children in countries like Colombia, Ethiopia, Vietnam and Peru.

In 2010, the company became the first large chain to launch the Flat White in the UK. And in 2011, the chain opened the first Costa Drive-Thru in Nottingham, England. More recently, the company has developed and implemented thousands of self-service smart coffee machines called Costa Express, as well as a series of ready-to-drink products that are readily available for those on the go.

Costa have publicly promised a commitment to create a ‘litter-free environment,’ helping with environmental projects around the world. They operate under the motto, ‘Great taste without the waste,’ and are keen for people to enjoy their coffee without the guilt of environmental waste. That’s why thousands of Costa outlets recycle coffee cups, while also recycling cups from other coffee shops. The company aims to recycle over 30 million takeaway cups each year. Their policies also directly benefit pockets of customers, as Costa offers 25p off any drink when it is served in a reusable cup.

As mentioned, Costa is now a vibrant international franchise offering their branded coffee in 32 countries around the world. The company are continuing their expansion. For example, Costa Coffee entered Belgium in 2021, with a goal to open 200 units by the end of the year. However, due to their success, competition is high. At the moment Costa are generally looking to work with larger companies who can offer multiple units in new regions – however there’s no harm getting in touch to source opportunities. But with the global backing of Coca-Cola, it’s likely to be a refreshing investment.

Current estimates suggest a potential franchise requires a personal investment of somewhere between £250,000 - £800,000. The franchise fee will depend on your desired location. While other fees such as, royalties and advertising are arranged with Costa’s head office.


  • 4000+ in 32 markets worldwide
  • 10,000 smart coffee machines
  • 3,148 units in Europe
  • 2,400 units in the UK


  • Initial investment: £250,000 - £800,000 (EUR 300,000 – EUR 960,000)
  • Franchise fees: dependant on location

Anywhere, anytime / Over 10,000 Costa Express points have been installed in shops and petrol stations around Europe, bolstering the brands name and profits.