Coffee culture in the United Kingdom has developed rapidly over the past five years, to the benefit of manufacturers of specialist coffee machines (for home and retail use) and specialist cafes and coffee shops. The UK retail coffee market has actually delivered strong growth for over a decade, allowing coffee chains and independent operators to spread rapidly across the whole of the UK.
The boom is partly attributable to the influence of American TV and the entrance of US-style coffee houses into the UK, with customers looking to emulate the cosmopolitan New York lifestyle. However, it is also the way we work, shop and spend our leisure time that accounts for the growing café/coffee culture. Mobile technology and the availability of free wifi has seen cafes become meeting, remote working and study places as well as places to socialise; particularly for families and women. More than a quarter of British adults visit a coffee shop once a week or more and over half those customers are women.
The rise of on-line shopping, too, has also contributed to the growth of café culture. Where people once spent their weekends trawling shops, now they are meeting up with friends in their local café.
Physical expansion by leading chains is a strong driver of growth, but the independents are also expanding strongly driven predominantly by interest in Artisan coffee shops. In the same way craft beer is helping to revive the brewing industry and speciality teas are helping to revive that oh-so British past time of tea drinking, it is the careful crafting of a quality coffee that is stimulating demand.
The trend is very much one that Saniflo in the UK can identify with. Over the last few years, there has been a noticeable leap in sales of commercial products for cafes and it is often a change in use of buildings and premises that necessitates a solution for waste water drainage. Former offices, showrooms, shops and even historic buildings are all being brought back to life to take advantage of café culture. And it is both independents and chains that are turning to Saniflo for a solution.
Take the Pato Lounge in Orpington High Street. As a redundant bedroom showroom, the building was falling into disrepair before being acquired by the Lounge Group – a chain that is renowned for its quirky use of pre-used buildings – and transformed into a large, comfortable café.
With its serving area in the centre of the space it needed a method of discharging water from sinks, dish and glass washers. A Sanicom 2 pump – installed under the counter – takes the waste water away through small bore pipework in the floor to the back wall where it is pumped up and across the ceiling to meet a soil stack in a central column. A further Sanicom located in the boiler room pumps condensated water and waste water from a large ice machine through the same ceiling void. A final Saniflo pump – the Sanicubic XL, is installed into a cleaner’s cupboard next door to the men’s and ladies bathrooms, from where it handles black water waste pumping it via the same pipework to the central column where it drops into a manhole and joins the mains drains in the street.
In Peterborough vacant offices and a former coffee shop was merged into one to create a two-story Argo Lounge. A full reconfiguration of the space meant that the plumbers used the same Sanicom and Sanicubic XL technolgy to discharge waste from the kitchen and bathrooms. Without the pumps the whole conversion would have involved more costly civils work; possibly prohibiting the viability of the scheme.
Three Cosy Clubs, in Birmingham, Leicester and Cardiff, have each been converted using similar Saniflo products turning an old bank branch, former knitwear factory and empty retail premises into large vibrant spaces that tap into the café culture trend.
Gatehouse Café, located in Walmgate Bar, York is a charming independent cafe nestled within the ancient walls of York. As the most complete of the four main medieval gateways into the city it is the only ‘Bar’ in the UK to retain its barbican, portcullis and inner doors. Using Saniflo products was the only affordable way of providing waste water discharge for the serving area and customer WC. A Sanicom in the kitchen and a Saniaccess macerator pump discharge waste via small bore pipework eventually ending up in the same cast soil pipe concealed within the toll bar walls.
Expanding chain, Patisserie Valerie, is opening new outlets at a rapid pace. The original concept of this store was to introduce continental style cakes to the brits, but as demand for additional products has grown each of the shops has invested in food and drink preparation areas; more often than not using Saniflo products to discharge waste water. In a large older building in Edinburgh a store basement has been transformed into a manufacturing premise, where handmade confectionary and cakes are made for distribution throughout Scotland. Saniflo products have made it possible to install sinks for food preparation areas with no major construction works. A Sanicom 1 – which can work with temperatures of up to 90°C – has been installed as the main pump station whilst two Sanispeeds – which are for lighter commercial applications – are processing water from a cleaners sink and dishwasher and pumping it up to meet the main soil stack.
So, the continuing development of the café culture in the UK, we can safely say, is being aided and abetted by leading plumbing brand, Saniflo, allowing a nation of tea and coffee lovers to indulge their passion in increasingly sociable spaces.
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