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Caffè Nero

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Caffè Nero Group Ltd.
Company typePrivate company limited by shares
IndustryCoffee shops
HeadquartersLondon, England
Number of locations
Increase 1,017 (2019)
Key people
ProductsEspresso based coffees
Savoury and Sweet goods
RevenueIncrease £227.9 million GBP
Number of employees
Increase 5,000
SubsidiariesHarris + Hoole
Coffee 1
Aroma Coffee

Caffè Nero is a coffeehouse company headquartered in London, England, established in 1997 by Gerry Ford. Caffè Nero runs over 1,000 coffee houses in eleven countries: the UK, Ireland, Sweden, Poland, Cyprus, Croatia, Turkey, the UAE, Oman and the United States. In 2009, Caffè Nero bought and opened its own coffee roastery in Battersea, south London, which supplies the coffee to all its coffee houses worldwide.

Caffè Nero Ltd is majority owned through a chain of intermediary companies, including UK-based Nero Group Holdings Ltd and Luxembourg-based Rome Intermediate Holdings Sarl, by Gerry Ford.[citation needed] The company successfully dismissed a hostile takeover attempt during the COVID-19 pandemic.[1]


In 1997, Gerry Ford led a small group of investors in the purchase from Ian Semp of five London coffee outlets.[2][3][4] At the same time the signature coffee house blend – Classico – was introduced, and has gone on to receive awards for its quality. The Classico blend is still served in every store today.[5][6]

Café in Warsaw, Poland, where it is branded as 'green Caffè Nero'

In March 2001, Caffè Nero joined the London Stock Exchange under the symbol CFN. In early 2007, the company was the subject of a management buy-out by the newly formed Rome Bidco Ltd and taken private.[7] The company expanded to Turkey in 2007, the UAE in 2009, Poland in 2012, Cyprus in 2013, Ireland and the United States in 2014, Croatia in 2017, Oman in 2018 and Sweden.[8]

In 2013, Caffè Nero's coffee was rated best-tasting among five major UK brands by experts at the independent consumer magazine Which?[9]

Tiramisu and Hot Chocolate at Caffè Nero, Crawley.

In June 2016, the Caffè Nero Group completed the purchase of the Harris + Hoole business from Tesco, with 43 sites,[10] and in January 2019 the Group expanded further by completing the purchase of the majority shareholding of the 100-strong coffee chain Coffee#1 located in Wales, South West England and the Midlands from SA Brains.[11] The deal gave Caffe Nero a 67% majority stake in the business; in February 2022, Caffe Nero purchased the remaining 33%.[12][13]

In 2019 they partnered with the beverage company Fever-Tree to sell two variations of the beverage espresso and tonic across its outlets.[14]

In 2020, like many businesses in the hospitality sector, Caffè Nero suffered from poor trading conditions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the second lockdown in November 2020, the company proposed entering a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) with its creditors.[15] Ford hoped that successful renegotiation of rent agreements with landlords, and a reduction in overall costs, would enable the company to rebuild its business when the pandemic ended;[16][17] more than 90% of creditors voted in favour in November 2020.[18] The CVA was approved the day after Caffè Nero confirmed it had rejected an unsolicited takeover approach from the brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, who are behind the EG Group, stating that they had "clear intention" to disrupt the CVA "as a precursor to opportunistically acquiring the company at a later date."[18][19][20]

In September 2021, the high court dismissed the challenge against the CVA, brought by a landlord with the backing of the Issa brothers, with Mr Justice Green ruling that the company had "acted in good faith, in accordance with their professional duties and reached a perfectly reasonable decision that it was not in the best interests of the creditors to postpone the CVA process".[1][21]

In January 2022, Caffè Nero completed a £330m refinancing to give it a platform for future growth and development as well as the ability to resume its new store-opening programme as the business continued its recovery from the effects of the pandemic.[22][23]

In August 2022, Caffè Nero was awarded a Princess Royal Award For Outstanding Workplace Training in recognition of the impact of its workplace leader development courses.[24]

In May 2023 it was announced that Caffè Nero would run the Nero Book Awards, annual awards in four categories for books published in Britain or Ireland.[25]


Some of the company's stores have had planning permission controversies or enforcement. In December 2011, councillors in Skipton accused Caffè Nero of "bully-boy tactics" following the opening of a store without the required planning permission.[26]

As of 2014 Caffè Nero had not paid any corporation tax in the UK since 2007 on sales of £2 billion and had been subject to criticism,[27][needs update] although the BBC reported that "there is no suggestion that Caffe Nero has done anything illegal" and that "Caffe Nero has previously rejected accusations that its complex corporate structure involving various holding companies is designed to avoid corporation tax."[27]

In May 2015, the company said that they would stop serving milk from farms in Gloucestershire's badger cull areas following threats from animal-rights activists. On 29 May 2015, the company said: "Caffè Nero has instructed its partners supplying to stores which are situated around the cull zone areas to supply milk from farms outside of the zone."[28]

On 7 July 2015, rats were videoed scurrying along the floor and counter in their Donegall Square West unit in Belfast, despite having previously been awarded a four out of five star rating by inspectors from Belfast City Council. Having been notified of the incident, the store was closed for a full investigation and later reopened; the source of the infestation was an adjacent disused building.[29]

A 2017 undercover investigation by the BBC programme Watchdog found trace amounts of faecal bacteria in the iced water used for drinks in Caffè Nero, Starbucks and Costa Coffee. It was suggested that the ice was most likely to have been contaminated by being touched by unclean hands. The three major coffee chains said they were taking steps to deal with the matter. Tony Lewis, head of policy at the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health, urged caution about the BBC's findings, stating: "The public should not panic about this. You can't generalise from the small sample size."[30]

In June 2018, Polish State Sanitary Inspectorate and media reported 63 adults and 10 children having been poisoned (21 of whom were hospitalized) after eating salmonella-contaminated cakes served in a number of Caffè Neros in Warsaw, Kraków and Wrocław.[31][32]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Walsh, Dominic (29 September 2021). "Judge Rebuffs ASDA Owners Mohsin And Zuber Issa In Their Bid To Buy Caffè Nero". The Times.
  2. ^ "Caffè Nero takeover deal completes returning the b..." The Caterer. 19 January 2007.
  3. ^ Cave, Andrew (5 April 2014). "Caffe Nero founder Gerry Ford has chutzpah - you need it if want to take a European coffee chain to America" – via www.telegraph.co.uk.
  4. ^ Walsh, Dominic (26 February 2018). "Caffè Nero records like-for-like sales growth". The Times.
  5. ^ "Caffe Nero enters the retail market". MCA Insight.
  6. ^ "Situation Analysis of the Caffè Nero Group Ltd". www.ivoryresearch.com.
  7. ^ "Caffe Nero agrees to management buyout". Reuters. 7 December 2006 – via uk.reuters.com.
  8. ^ "Caffe Nero to open 80 new international sites in 2019". Xpress Recruitment. 20 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Which coffee shop chain serves the tastiest coffee?". Which.co.uk. 11 July 2013. Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  10. ^ "Caffè Nero acquires Harris + Hoole brand from Tesco". 23 June 2016.
  11. ^ Gyton, Georgi (31 January 2019). "A taste of things to come?". MCA Insight.
  12. ^ Witts, Sophie (1 February 2019). "Caffè Nero buys majority stake in Coffee#1". Big Hospitality.
  13. ^ Gilbert, Helen (14 February 2022). "Caffè Nero owner buys remaining stake in Coffee#1". British Baker.
  14. ^ Woolfson, Daniel. "Fever-Tree partners with Caffè Nero for 'Espresso & Tonic' drinks". The Grocer. Retrieved 19 November 2023.
  15. ^ "Caffe Nero lenders and landlords brace for launch of CVA plan". Sky News. 6 November 2020.
  16. ^ "Covid: Caffè Nero seeks help after pandemic 'decimates' trading". BBC News. 13 November 2020.
  17. ^ "Caffè Nero chief: We never meant 'pay no rent to landlords'". reactnews.com.
  18. ^ a b "Landlords approve Caffe Nero CVA after company rejects takeover offer". standard.co.uk. 1 December 2020.
  19. ^ "Caff Nero CVA includes 5m 'survival' fund to". 3 December 2020.
  20. ^ "Landlords approve Caffe Nero rescue deal". cityam.com. 1 December 2020.
  21. ^ "High Court dismisses legal challenge to Caffe Nero restructuring". The Caterer. 30 September 2021.
  22. ^ Walsh, Dominic (14 January 2022). "Issa brothers' hopes denied by Caffè Nero refinancing".
  23. ^ "Caffè Nero completes £330m debt refinancing as it looks to grow".
  24. ^ "Caffè Nero Wins Princess Royal Award For Outstanding Workplace Training". Business Mondays.
  25. ^ Shaffi, Sarah (22 May 2023). "Caffè Nero launches major book awards". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 March 2024.
  26. ^ Tate, Lesley (15 December 2011). "Retrospective application for Skipton High Street business refused". Craven Herald.
  27. ^ a b "Caffe Nero accused over tax affairs". BBC News. 6 May 2014.
  28. ^ "Caffè Nero bans 'badger cull' milk after animal rights threats". Gloucester Citizen. 1 June 2015. Archived from the original on 3 August 2015. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  29. ^ "Caffè Nero Council visit after rats filmed". BBC News. 5 August 2015.
  30. ^ Davis, Nicola (28 June 2017). "Faecal bacteria found in ice from Costa, Caffè Nero and Starbucks". The Guardian.
  31. ^ "Sanepid: 73 przypadki zachorowań, w tym 10 dzieci". warszawawpigulce.pl. 11 June 2018.
  32. ^ "Komunikat nr 4: Zatrucie pokarmowe w sieci kawiarni Green Caffe Nero" (PDF). pssewawa.pl. 11 June 2018.

External links[edit]