|Founder(s)||Bruno and Sergio Costa|
|Headquarters||Dunstable, England, United Kingdom|
|Area served||United Kingdom, Ireland, South Asia, China, Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe|
|Key people||Chris Rodgers
(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. 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 brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa as a wholesale operation supplying roasted coffee to caterers and specialist Italian coffee shops. Acquired by Whitbread in 1995, it has since 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. 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.
Costa Coffee operates 1175 outlets in the United Kingdom as of January 2011. 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, Some Premier Inn Hotels, 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 various businesses. Its largest branch is located in Dubai and can seat 321 people.
Costa Coffee currently has branches in many countries. 
Following Whitbread's £59.5m acquisition of Coffee Nation, a chain of coffee machines, the machines were re-branded as Costa Express. The company plans expand 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.
Costa Coffee has its own roastery. 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.
Zoning and opposition to franchise locations
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 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 it was awarded planning permission on appeal. January 2014 saw another license application rejected, this time in Hinchley Wood, Surrey. The village had previously seen attempts by McDonalds to purchase property on the same street in 1999. However Whitbread Plc have appealed this, with a decision to come in March 2014.
- Whitbread Annual Report 2010
- Whitbread PLC - hospitality company profiles
- "Costa Experience - The Journey from Bean to Cup - Costa Coffee". Costa Coffee. Retrieved 6 April 2014.
- 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
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