It never ceases to amaze me how many people frequent coffee shops in the UK, it’s almost a national obsession.

Th

ere is plenty of profit to be had from supplying hot drinks and coffee in particular, so why let Costa and Starbucks take it all?

Here at Lambs Larder, we decided early on to make good quality, take-out coffee a focus of our business. Since opening just over four years ago, we have dispensed over 67,000 cups of coffee alone. In net terms, hot drinks contribute an amazing £40,000 per year to our business and it is increasing.

Peter Lamb2 Retail Express columnist and East Sussex retailer Peter Lamb

Hot drinks have become such a focus for us that we have installed a 2nd bean to cup machine. We now have a Tchibo and a Rijo 42. Both produce amazing coffee and hot chocolate with the Rijo 42 machine catering for decaf and exotic coffees as well.

We sell our hot drinks for just £1.20 per cup which still makes us a good profit while creating the impression among the customers of outstanding value, particularly when you compare it against the competition.

The trick is to have a really good machine that produces coffee of the same quality as a Costa or Nero. These machines don’t come cheap. They can be as much as £8,000 to £10,000 depending on which model you buy, but they pay for themselves in around a year.

Along with ever increasing coffee sales comes ever increasing sales of flap jacks, date slices, shortbread, bakewells and doughnuts. All of these extra items are also high profit.

We promote strongly the fact that we have hot drinks, we have signage inside and outside and even a giant coffee cup to alert passers-by.

Our coffee machines are like a customer magnet and we are looking forward to growing that part of Lambs Larder even further.