Before we dive deep into the SWOT analysis, let’s get the business overview of Costa Coffee. Costa Coffee is a British multinational coffeehouse chain that was founded in London, England, in 1971 by Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa.

Since its inception, the company has become one of the largest coffee chains in the world, with thousands of locations in more than 30 countries. Costa Coffee is known for its high-quality coffee, made from its blend of Mocha Italia and a range of other hot and cold beverages, pastries, sandwiches, and snacks.

In August 2018, The Coca-Cola Company announced its plans to acquire Costa Coffee from its then-parent company, Whitbread PLC, for £3.9 billion. The acquisition was completed in January 2019, benefiting Costa Coffee from Coca-Cola’s global distribution network and food and beverage industry expertise.

Costa Coffee operates under several formats, including traditional sit-down coffee shops, Costa Express self-service units, drive-thrus, and concessions within larger establishments such as cinemas and supermarkets. The company has also embraced digitalization by introducing its mobile app, which enables customers to collect loyalty points, pre-order drinks, and make payments.

Costa Coffee’s main competitors include Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and other regional and local coffee chains. The company has focused on expanding its global presence and innovating its product offerings to compete effectively in the highly competitive coffee market.

Key aspects of Costa Coffee’s business strategy include:

  1. Geographic expansion: Costa Coffee aims to grow its international footprint, focusing on high-growth markets like China and the Middle East while consolidating its position in the UK and other European markets.
  2. Product innovation: The company regularly introduces new beverages, food items, and seasonal promotions to maintain customer interest and appeal to different tastes and preferences.
  3. Digitalization: Costa Coffee has invested in its digital capabilities, including its mobile app, to improve customer experience and drive loyalty.
  4. Sustainability: The company is committed to ethically sourcing coffee beans, reducing environmental impact, and engaging in community initiatives.
  5. Diversification: Costa Coffee has diversified its portfolio by offering Costa Express self-service units and expanding its ready-to-drink product range in collaboration with Coca-Cola.
  6. Financial Performance: The UK-based coffee chain achieved 21% year-on-year sales growth in the 12 months ended 31 December 2022 to reach £1.1bn ($1.36bn).  Additionally, Costa Coffee posted an operating profit of £8.26m ($10.1m) compared to a loss of £33.4m ($40.8m) in 2021, and a full-year profit of £243m ($297m), compared to a £38m ($46.6m) loss the year previously. 

Here is the SWOT analysis for Costa Coffee

A SWOT analysis is a strategic planning tool used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of a business, project, or individual. It involves identifying the internal and external factors that can affect a venture’s success or failure and analyzing them to develop a strategic plan. In this article, we do a SWOT Analysis of Costa Coffee.

SWOT Analysis: Meaning, Importance, and Examples


  1. Brand reputation: Costa Coffee enjoys a strong brand reputation for its high-quality coffee and excellent customer service. This has helped the company build customer loyalty and trust.
  2. Global presence: With thousands of locations in more than 30 countries, Costa Coffee has a strong international presence, which allows it to cater to a diverse range of customers and expand its market reach.
  3. Coca-Cola acquisition: Being acquired by The Coca-Cola Company has provided Costa Coffee with significant resources, global distribution channels, and expertise in the food and beverage industry, enabling the company to expand more effectively and innovate its product offerings.
  4. Unique coffee blend: Costa Coffee’s signature Mocha Italia blend sets it apart from competitors, offering a distinct taste that appeals to many coffee drinkers.
  5. Diverse formats: Costa Coffee operates a variety of store formats, such as traditional coffee shops, drive-thrus, and Costa Express self-service units, allowing the company to adapt to different market needs and customer preferences.
  6. Product innovation: Costa Coffee consistently introduces new products and seasonal promotions, keeping its menu fresh and appealing to customers with varying tastes.
  7. Digitalization: The company’s investment in digital technologies, like its mobile app, enhances customer experience, drives loyalty, and streamlines operations.
  8. Sustainability and ethical sourcing: Costa Coffee’s commitment to sustainable practices and ethical sourcing of coffee beans helps build a positive brand image and appeal to environmentally conscious consumers.
  9. Strong supply chain: Costa Coffee’s robust supply chain and in-house coffee roasting capabilities enable the company to maintain consistent quality and taste across its locations.


  1. Market saturation: Costa Coffee faces stiff competition in the highly saturated coffee market, with rivals like Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, and local coffee chains vying for market share. This could limit the company’s growth potential in certain regions.
  2. Overdependence on the UK market: A significant portion of Costa Coffee’s revenue comes from the UK, making it susceptible to economic and consumer trends fluctuations. Diversifying its revenue streams through further international expansion could help mitigate this risk.
  3. Limited product diversification: While Costa Coffee offers a range of food and beverage options, its primary focus remains on coffee. This may limit its appeal to consumers looking for more diversified options or healthier alternatives.
  4. Inconsistent store experience: Due to the vast number of locations and different store formats, customers may experience inconsistencies in service quality and atmosphere, which could impact brand perception and customer satisfaction.
  5. Franchising challenges: While franchising enables Costa Coffee to expand rapidly, it may lead to a lack of control over store operations and quality, potentially harming the brand image.
  6. Slow adoption of digital technology: Although Costa Coffee has invested in digital capabilities such as its mobile app, it has been relatively slow compared to competitors in fully embracing digital technologies for enhancing customer experience and streamlining operations.
  7. Environmental impact: Like other coffee chains, Costa Coffee faces challenges in reducing its environmental footprint, including waste generated from disposable cups, single-use packaging, and energy consumption at its locations.
  8. Price sensitivity: Costa Coffee’s premium pricing may not appeal to price-conscious customers, who may opt for more affordable alternatives available in the market.


  1. International expansion: Costa Coffee can target high-growth markets, such as Asia and the Middle East, to expand its global footprint and diversify revenue streams. This could also reduce the company’s overdependence on the UK market.
  2. Product diversification: By expanding its menu to include more non-coffee beverages, healthier food options, and plant-based alternatives, Costa Coffee can cater to a broader range of customer preferences and tap into growing trends.
  3. Strengthen digital presence: Costa Coffee can further invest in digital technologies to improve customer experience, enhance loyalty programs, and streamline store operations. This includes leveraging data analytics for personalized marketing and optimizing supply chain management.
  4. Sustainability initiatives: Costa Coffee can amplify its sustainability efforts by further reducing waste, increasing the use of renewable energy, and promoting the adoption of reusable cups and packaging. These initiatives can help strengthen the company’s brand image and attract environmentally conscious consumers.
  5. Partnerships and collaborations: Costa Coffee can explore strategic partnerships and alliances with other businesses, such as supermarkets, hotels, and airlines, to extend its reach and create new revenue streams.
  6. Drive-thru and delivery services: Expanding drive-thru locations and delivery services can help Costa Coffee cater to the growing demand for convenience and adapt to changing consumer behavior in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  7. Private label products: Costa Coffee can develop and market its private label products, such as coffee beans, ready-to-drink beverages, and branded merchandise, to generate additional revenue and enhance brand visibility.
  8. Enhanced customer experiences: Costa Coffee can invest in store design, ambiances, and technology, such as touch-screen ordering and self-service kiosks, to create unique and memorable customer experiences that differentiate it from competitors.


  1. Intense competition: The coffee industry is highly competitive, with major players like Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts, local coffee chains, and independent coffee shops. This competition can affect Costa Coffee’s market share, pricing, and customer loyalty.
  2. Economic fluctuations: Economic downturns and fluctuations in consumer spending may negatively impact Costa Coffee’s sales and profitability, particularly since the company’s premium pricing may be less appealing during economic recessions.
  3. Changing consumer preferences: Evolving consumer tastes and preferences, such as the demand for healthier options, plant-based alternatives, and unique coffee experiences, can challenge Costa Coffee if it does not adapt its product offerings and services accordingly.
  4. Supply chain disruptions: Costa Coffee’s supply chain is vulnerable to disruptions from natural disasters, geopolitical tensions, and global pandemics. These disruptions can increase costs, shortages and compromise product quality.
  5. Regulatory changes: Changes in regulations and policies related to food safety, health, labor, and environmental standards can increase operational costs and potential fines for non-compliance.
  6. Currency fluctuations: As an international business, Costa Coffee is exposed to risks associated with currency fluctuations, which can affect its revenue and profitability.
  7. Environmental and social concerns: The coffee industry has been scrutinized for its environmental impacts, such as deforestation, waste generation, and water consumption. Additionally, fair labor practices and ethical sourcing concerns can affect Costa Coffee’s reputation and consumer perception.
  8. Technological advancements: Competitors who are quicker to adopt new technologies and digital solutions may gain an advantage in customer experience, operational efficiency, and market share.
  9. Data security and privacy: As Costa Coffee relies on digital technologies and collects customer data, it faces potential risks related to data security breaches and privacy concerns, which can harm its reputation and result in legal consequences.

Check out the SWOT Analysis of Global Businesses