Independent coffee shops are considered to be the biggest growth area for coffee in the UK, according to the most recent report from the Allegra World Coffee Portal. With the competition to win customers becoming stiffer than ever, we wanted to explore an extremely ingenious growing trend within the speciality coffee industry – the multi-functional cafe.

‘Cycle Cafes’ have been around now for well over a decade, the two very popular British past times are a match made in heaven so what could make more sense? But we've been keeping our eye on some even quirkier combinations and exploring the benefits for these businesses.

Standing out from the crowd…

Some other examples of combo coffee shops include florist-cafes, home-store cafes, launderette-cafes, and even dog park cafes (check out Pet Place). People want a unique experience when they venture out for coffee so it’s vital that independent cafes think about their target customers and develop ways to identify with them in as many ways as possible.

"It definitely helps us to reach a wider variety of people and a broader customer base,” said Peri, who is the Cafe Manager of an inspiring ‘Combo Café and Sanremo customer, Think Coffee Ink. Think is a unique space in the heart of Camden town which is a coffee shop, hair salon and tattoo studio. We asked Peri the benefits of running this kind of shop, “Definitely the clientele, we get people who just come in for a coffee who end up getting a small tattoo on the same day!".

This is one shining example of how a multi-use space can boost business, and with 100% of their profits being used to support community projects, it’s really great to hear this particular combo cafe is a hive of activity. Read our full interview with Peri here.

Think Coffee Ink - cafe, tattoo studio & hairdressers

What are the benefits?

So how might choosing a more flexible space impact your business and most importantly your bottom line? Here are three benefits...

Boost customer spend: Maximise the spend from every person that comes through your doors and keep them on your premises for longer. If you’ve offered a great service, it’s a great time to suggest other purchases- chances are they’ll already be in a spending state of mind.

Create curiosity and increase footfall: Your business is a little bit different right? So natural inquisitiveness will entice people to find out more, increasing footfall and hopefully offering them a unique experience they can’t refuse.

Make it easy, modern lives are busy: people nowadays rush and juggle through the day’s tasks! By offering them a space to relax and enjoy amazing coffee whilst helping them to tick off the rest of their to-do list is both convenient and efficient.

Rust And The Wolf -Café and Lifestyle store

What is the most bizarre or interesting multi-use coffee shop you’ve visited? We’d love to know!