Coffee Chains Expanding Rapidly in Eastern Europe

As markets in Western European countries are increasingly saturated, coffee chains in Eastern Europe have shown rapid growth in the past year. Eastern European countries have long been a bastion of traditional coffee and instant coffee made at home, but the past decade has seen an upswing in takeout and sit-down specialty coffee chains. In 2016, coffee chains in Eastern Europe grew more than 5% while chains in Western European countries only grew by 1.8%.

This growth spurt in Eastern Europe has been fueled by consumer demand for specialty coffee drinks like lattes. Both local and international chains have jumped to meet this new need. Scandinavian coffee companies like Wayne’s Coffee and Robert’s Coffee have made inroads in Poland and Estonia. The two countries have also seen an influx of American coffee chains like Starbucks and McCafé by McDonald’s in recent years. Estonia saw the most new store openings last year, particularly in its capital city of Tallinn. New coffee chains tend to cluster around Eastern Europe’s largest cities. For example. Polish company Green Caffe Nero is ubiquitous in Warsaw, but faces new competition from Starbucks, which now has more than 20 stores across the city.

Starbucks reportedly has plans to open 40 new stores across Eastern Europe in the future. They recently opened their first store in Bratislava, Slovakia and have dozens of locations in Prague and Budapest. The Seattle-based company has taken Russia by storm since its first store opened there in 2007. Starbucks now has more than 60 stores in the cities of Moscow and St. Petersburg alone.

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