|Founder(s)||Bruno and Sergio Costa|
|Headquarters||Dunstable, England, United Kingdom|
|Area served||United Kingdom, South Asia, China, Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe|
|Key people||John Derkach
(Acting managing director of Costa Retail UK)
|Products||Hot drinks, particularly coffee, small snacks and soft drinks|
|Operating income||£340.9 million (2009/10)|
Costa Coffee is a British multinational coffeehouse company headquartered in Dunstable, United Kingdom, and a wholly owned subsidiary of Whitbread PLC. It is the second largest coffeehouse chain in the world behind Starbucks and the largest in the United Kingdom.
Costa Coffee was founded in London in 1971 by the Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa, as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops. It was acquired by Whitbread in 1995, since when it has grown to over 1,700 stores across 35 countries. The business has 1,375 UK restaurants, 2,500 Costa Express vending facilities and a further 800 outlets overseas.
Bruno and Sergio Costa founded a coffee roastery in Lambeth, London in 1971, supplying local caterers and coffee shops with their slow-roasted blend Mocha Italia. Costa branched out to retailing coffee in 1978, when its first store opened in Vauxhall Bridge Road, London.
In 1995 the business was acquired by Whitbread, becoming a wholly owned subsidiary. In 2009 Costa celebrated the opening of its 1,000th store - in Cardiff. In December 2009, Costa Coffee agreed to acquire Coffee Heaven for £36 million, adding 79 stores in central and eastern Europe. By the end of 2010 the company had overtaken Starbucks in the UK, reaching a 37.6% market share measured by revenues.
The History of Costa
1971:Founded in London by Italian brothers,Sergio and Bruno Costa.
1978: The first Costa coffee shop opens in London.
1995: Whitbread PLC acquires Costa with 41 stores nationwide.
1999: Costa opens its first international store in Dubai
2006: Costa sets up the Costa Foundation – a registered charity that improves the lives of coffee-growing communities.
2007: Costa overtakes Starbucks as the UK’s largest coffee shop brand.
2010: Costa is the first branded chain to nationally launch the Flat White
2011: Costa acquires Coffee Nation and launches Costa Express. The first Costa Drive-Thru opens in Nottingham.
2012: Costa is awarded 'Best Coffee Chain, UK & IE' and 'Best Coffee Chain, Europe' at the European Coffee Awards 2012 and is available to enjoy at home with the Tassimo Costa range.
Costa Coffee operates 1175 outlets in the United Kingdom as of January 2011, making it the largest British chain in terms of stores. Internationally it operates 442 stores throughout the world in 35 countries.
Costa Coffee outlets can be found in airports and within Waterstone's bookstores, WHSmith, Homebase branches, Marriott Hotels, Odeon Cinemas, Waitrose and Tesco stores, Pizza Hut branches, Beefeater Pubs, Moto and RoadChef motorway services and in some hospitals. Smaller sub-units are also set up in railway stations and airports throughout the UK. Many of Costa Coffee's branches located in airports, cinemas and hospitals are either individual or corporate franchises. Costa Coffee also has small outlets positioned on out-of-town business parks, often among other food retailers, and on site at many of the UK's leading companies. Its largest branch is located in Dubai and can seat 321 people. In May 2013 a branch of Costa Coffee opened in Primark Bristol.
Costa Coffee currently has branches in many countries. 
Costa Express is a new concept created by a coffee chain of self-service coffee bars. Following Whitbread's £59.5m acquisition of Coffee Nation - a chain of coffee machines - the 900 Coffee Nation machines will be replaced and re-branded as Costa Express. Costa have plans to expand Costa Express to 3000 locations. Coffee Nation are currently mostly located within Tesco stores and motorway service areas. Costa plans to target hospitals, universities and transport interchanges. These coffee bars will use the same coffee beans as are used in Costa stores and will use fresh milk. Prices will be from £1.95.
Costa Coffee has its own roastery and employ the only three Italian Master Roasters in the UK. The blend served in retail stores is known as "Mocha Italia" and contains six parts arabica beans to four part robusta beans (60% Arabica - 40% Robusta).
Costa Book Awards
Costa Coffee has been the sponsor of the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Book Awards) since 2006.
In 2011 it was reported that two Costa Coffee outlets in Bristol had opened without correct planning permission. An investigation into whether a third Costa coffee shop in north Bristol opened without the correct planning permission was launched in January 2012.
The planning appeals against the refusal of planning permission and enforcement action were upheld by an independent government appointed Inspector on 14 August 2012, who also awarded full costs against Bristol City Council in relation to one of the stores. The decision received criticism from councillors across the political spectrum.
In 2012, Costa faced opposition by a majority of its residents to its plans to open an outlet in Totnes, Devon. However, an open letter was issued by Costa in conjunction with local authorities to state that because of the unique nature of the town and local pressure it had decided to pull out.
Also in 2012, residents in Southwold tried to campaign against the opening of a Costa coffee shop in their town. Planners turned down the original planning application by Costa, but controversially, awarded planning permission on appeal.
- Whitbread Annual Report 2010
- Whitbread PLC - hospitality company profiles
- Costa Coffee
- The Guardian 4 March 2010
- Caterer and Hotelkeeper 14 January 2011
- Park View Shopping Centre - Costa Coffee
- "Homepage". Costa Coffee. Retrieved 3 August 2012.
- Growing Business Success Stories - Costa Express: Scott Martin 10 June 2011
- Guardian - Whitbread self serve coffee machines
- Costa Express
- Costa Coffee: The Perfect Cup
- The Telegraph 9 March 2009
- "Investigation into third Bristol Costa coffee shop". BBC News. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 14 January 2012.
- Bristol 247 News 15/08/2012"Councillors’ anger at green light for Costa Coffee shops"
- Guardian 15/08/2012 "Totnes: the town that declared war on global capitalism"
- See http://www.lowestoftjournal.co.uk/news/southwold_costa_coffee_campaign_dealt_blow_1_1403930
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Costa Coffee.|
- Official website
- Costa Business
- Costa Coffee at Motorway Services
- Costa Book Awards website
- Costa Foundation website