The new foreign coffee and restaurant chains in Greece (pics)

coffee cafe

The European chains that give a vote of confidence to the Greek market - Dozens of new stores in the coming months - Why they choose Greece

Although 2023 has been a challenging year for Belgian bakery and coffee chain Le Pain Quotidien, with the UK arm of the group entering liquidation, the company has continued to expand into other regions of the world, including Greece.

The Athens store opened its doors at the end of last year, making Greece the fourth new market the company will enter in 2023 (along with Luxembourg, Uruguay, and Morocco).

Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien

"It's not just about opening another store. It's about bringing our passion for handmade bread and healthy food to the beautiful city of Athens to share a piece of our handmade products with every visitor who walks through our doors," the company wrote in a LinkedIn post.

The 'Le Pain Quotidien' chain operates 210 stores in 21 countries, with Belgium, Argentina, the US and Mexico among its biggest markets. With the consumption of coffee and snacks recording dynamic growth, supported by the steady upward trend of tourism, Greece entered the radar of international catering and coffee chains.

Arrivals from Italy

The first store of the Italian 12oz outside the Italian borders was opened in Athens
The first store of the Italian 12oz outside the Italian borders was opened in Athens.

The Italian chain 12oz already has two stores in the heart of Athens. The first one, in the shadow of the Acropolis, opened in May 2023, and a month later, the Omonia store followed.

Born in 2015 in Milan, 12oz has its patented technology to prepare some of the drinks it offers in less than 30 seconds.

Its plans include an aggressive expansion program inside and outside Italy, with Greece being its first international journey stop. In collaboration with the Greek Foodrinco Group, the Italian chain plans to open a total of 50 stores in Greece, Cyprus, Bulgaria, Albania and North Macedonia by 2028.

The also Italian Cafè Barbera opened its first store in Greece in April 2023. Cafè Barbera aims to spread the company's "mini store concept" in Europe, in places with high traffic, such as shopping centres, universities, office spaces, airports and metro stations.

“This expansion marks an important milestone in the company's history, bringing the rich flavours and traditions of Italian coffee and Italian cuisine to the vibrant city of Athens.

The store of the Italian Café Barbera in Athens will be a guide for the development of similar mini-stores in foreign markets
The store of the Italian Café Barbera in Athens will guide the development of similar mini-stores in foreign markets.

"The Athens store also marks the first Café Barbera Mini, a comprehensive space of 25-50 square metres that aims to showcase the full range of products of the Café Barbera chain," the company says on its website.

"The store in the historic centre of Athens will act as a business model for the company's new strategy," said Elio Barbera, CEO of Café Barbera, on the World Coffee Portal website. "Our growth in Europe will focus on the UK and Greece, which we have identified as fertile markets for expanding our concept."

The chain plans to open "multiple mini-stores" across Athens over the next three years. The Athens store is the fourth international market Cafè Barbera has entered in the last 12 months.

Pret A Manger in Greek airports

Prince William at a Pret A Manger store in the United Kingdom as part of a campaign to support the homeless
Prince William at a Pret A Manger store in the United Kingdom as part of a campaign to support the homeless

Starting from the airport of Thessaloniki, Pret A Manger aims to be a station for Greek and foreign passengers in four airports in Greece by 2024. The chain stores are also planned to open in Mykonos, Kos and Zakynthos airports.

The British chain of fresh snacks and organic drinks, which has a presence in 16 countries, is carrying out an aggressive expansion policy that, in 2023 alone, has brought new stores from Milan and Luxembourg to Mumbai, bringing its total to 700 stores worldwide.

International sales account for nearly 20% of Pret's revenue.

In collaboration with Fraport Greece and SSP Hellas, Pret A Manger committed to working with local producers and introducing some Greek gastronomy to its menu.

"We are excited to bring the Pret brand to Greece. Greek cuisine is famous worldwide for its many beloved local dishes, many of which have inspired the products we offer at Pret," said Panos Christou, chief executive officer of Pret A Manger.

Steady demand

Despite the pressure from the rising cost of living, the coffee market is expected to grow in Greece, supported by the millions of visitors arriving there.

Research by the global research network World Coffee Portal shows that Greece was among the 14 European markets that maintained positive industry growth during the pandemic in 2020.

Le Pain Quotidien
Le Pain Quotidien

In 2021, the branded coffee market maintained its positive trajectory, increasing by 3.6% to more than 1,900 stores. Greece has produced some of Europe's most important branded coffee chains, including Coffee Island, Gregory's, Mikel Coffee Company and CoffeeLab.

According to the Hellenic Coffee Association, Greeks consume 40,000 tons of coffee per year, with 40% consumed outside the home, while the World Coffee Organization ranks Greece in 17th place worldwide in coffee consumption, with a per capita consumption of 5.4 kg per year.

In a survey by Kappa Research for the Hellenic Coffee Association, it was recorded that 8 out of 10 citizens drink coffee daily (84%), while 53% of respondents have never thought of giving up coffee.

Simela Touchtidou is a columnist for New Money.

Guest Contributor

This piece was written for Greek City Times by a Guest Contributor

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