3 café franchise trends to watch out for in 2020

By Nick Hall | 06 Jan 2020 View comments

Want to run a café franchise of your own? Australia’s booming coffee scene is one of the biggest and most loyal worldwide, but what does 2020 have in-store?

Across Australia there are more than 20,000 coffee-shop outlets, many of which operate as a café franchise. It’s $9.8bn sector, perpetuated by a thriving need for Aussie consumers to get their daily brew, however, some external factors are threatening to alter the industry.

For café franchise owners or prospective franchises, there may be a few new aspects to consider. Here’s four café franchise trends to watch out for in 2020.

1. Rise in fair trade sourcing

Over the past 10 years, consumers, particularly in Australia have become more educated on the full crop to cup process. The introduction of new modern slavery bills takes the notion of ethically sourced, environmentally focused operation to a whole new level.

With the impacts of climate change already taking a toll Down Under, it’s important to recognise the agricultural impact overseas as well. Since April last year, Colombian coffee farmers have been raising awareness for the extreme poverty levels caused by dwindling coffee prices.

Couple that with lower production for farmers as a result of changing climate conditions, and the global coffee production market is in a tough predicament. However, organisations such as the Fairtrade Advocacy office in Europe have been working to implement a sustainable Fairtrade Minimum Price.

The change isn’t likely to directly affect Aussie café franchise owners, but you may see more suppliers adopt fairtrade agreements, slightly raising the price of raw coffee materials.

While that may seem like a negative, it is anything but. The recent climate-change caused bushfires in Australia have proved that the nation is more than willing to donate, compensate and collaborate when it comes to a compassionate cause.

2. Technology adoption

Further to that, the second trend that is likely to hit café franchise owners is a rise in technology adoption.

Consumers are driven by convenience and speed now more than ever, and franchisors must be quick to jump on the craze. In 2020, technology innovation will relate primarily to improving processes and speed of service, through ordering platforms and delivery aggregators.

Similarly, café franchise operators may be in for a boost as businesses introduce more intuitive automated back office admin technology. This will ultimately improve stock control, supply chain and business analytics.

3. Diet driven ordering

There’s no denying that diet driven ordering has already played an enormous part in café franchise operation. Since franchise brand Muffin Break first introduced specialty milks such as soy and almond at no extra cost, franchise brands have been rushing to find an alternative for every dietary dilemma.

In 2020, expect to see the trend continue. Where once, diet drive ordering was primarily concerned with health benefits, particularly for those with dairy or gluten intolerances, recent years have flipped the switch.

Consumers are far more health conscious, and with more Australians turning to a vegan or flexi-tarian diet, the importance of alternative products has never been higher.

This year, any café franchise that does not offer almond, soy, macadamia or oat milk will suffer the consequences of an evolving consumer spoilt for choice.

4. Cold brew focus

There’s nothing better than an iced coffee on a hot day, but unfortunately for most, it doesn’t always fit into the calorie counter.

As mentioned above, a rising health consciousness is seeing more Australians shy away from heavy, dairy-laden drinks in favour of specialty milks and brews. One major benefit has been the introduction of cold-drip and brew coffee as standard across stores.

Cold brew products offer a boutique approach to the traditionally sugar-filled iced coffee market, something Shingle Inn has already identified.

“A strong trend is ready-to-drink coffee that is either cold-brewed or blended coffee drinks that offer a different taste profile and experience to that of traditional espresso,” the brand told Inside Franchise Business.

Café franchise trends

Whether its specialty coffee or new tech innovation, the café franchise scene is certain to see some major changes in 2020.

They key to staying relevant amongst a sea of competitors is adapting to changing consumer preferences. If you are considering buying a café franchise, visit as many different outlets as you can.

Take in the sights and try and see what patterns you can identify. Happy hunting!