Pandemic of Coffee Shop closures throughout Canada

Canadians love their “To Go” coffee, for a fact Canadians are among the heaviest coffee drinkers in the World. According to experts, by October 2022, Canada has consumed more than 5 million 60-kilogram bags of coffee. This figure is higher than in previous years, reflecting Canada’s love of coffee.

Almost 75% of Canadians admitted to drinking coffee in the previous 24 hours when polled. In the previous 24 hours, only 71% of Americans drank coffee. Canadians love to get their coffee from Tim Hortons, their favourite coffee chain. There are over 4,000 locations spread across the country. Starbucks is another popular coffee shop in Canada. Regular coffee drinkers in Canada average 2.7 cups per day, which can bring them over the recommended limit of 400 mg of caffeine, depending on the type of coffee they prefer.

When it comes to the amount of coffee people consume per capita, Canada is the only non-European country to make the top ten. Finland is the most coffee-drinking country, followed by Norway and Ireland. Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, and Luxembourg are also on the list.

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But drinking coffee in Canada is in steady decline! Canadians used to drink about 3.6 cups per day in 2008, but that number has recently dropped to about 2.7 cups per day! But why is that?

Drinking coffee with friends

Declining coffee consumption in Canada

While coffee addicts in Canada may argue that coffee shops are essential services, the COVID-19 crisis has limited access or forced the closure of the country’s largest coffee chains. According to Field Agent Canada, this has resulted in a “significant shift” from out-of-home to in-home consumption. In a recent survey of 700 Canadians, more than three-quarters (79%) said they were regular coffee drinkers. Coffee consumption has remained stable during the pandemic, at 2.4 servings per day on average.

However, prior to the implementation of social distancing rules, 91% of Canadians consumed coffee purchased outside the home; now, that figure has dropped to 46%.

The rise of instant coffee has been one of the most noticeable changes in at-home consumption, with 25% of respondents saying they have used it at home in the last week. It is the most popular among respondents who said they tried new coffee drinks while staying at home, followed by cappuccino, drip coffee, and lattes.

The most popular coffee brand at home is Tim Hortons (13%), followed by Folgers, Maxwell House, Starbucks, and Nescafé (all at 8%), and Nespresso and McCafé (both at 7%). However, there has been some experimentation among coffee drinkers, with 11% indicating that they purchased another brand because their preferred brand was out of stock. Since the beginning of the crisis, 6% of respondents have purchased a new coffee machine, with drip coffee, Nespresso, and K-Cup machines being the most popular new purchases. According to the Canadian Coffee Association, coffee is a $6.2 billion business in Canada and, along with water, is the most commonly consumed beverage among adults.

With the increased cost of living in recent years, many Canadians are forced to save on somewhat automatic behaviours, “take out coffee”! While it was a common thing to drive to coffee shop in past years before going to work or going shopping, many choose to save few bucks here and there. This conglomerate of COVID-19 restrictions and inflation means on thing, coffee shop closures!

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Coffee shop closure

Coffee shops forced to close for good

Many coffee shops have to close their doors due to this negative trend that has hit Canada. One can’t open news papers or local blogs and not notice coffee closure articles! It has become almost a daily routine.

Articles like these have become a “new normal”!

The list goes on and on.

Even the big coffee shop chains are closing! Back in 2021, Starbucks said it will complete its plan to close up to 300 coffee shops across Canada by the end of March 2021. The Seattle-based coffeehouse and roastery chain announced last year that it would accelerate its five-year “transformation strategy” in response to changes in consumer habits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said in a 2021 statement that some of its locations closed last fall and that it expects to complete its planned store closures by the end of its second quarter. As of the summer of 2020, the company had approximately 1,400 locations in Canada.

Certainly not pretty numbers for coffee lovers in Canada. Consumer spending has shifted in Canada and the outcomes are very predictable! Not necessary spending will be cut short among Canadians.

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