Thistle launches coffee bar chain

Upmarket hotel chain Thistle Hotels is hoping to capitalise on the burgeoning coffee bar market with the launch of a new coffee bar and deli concept called CoMotion, which could become a standalone franchise operation.

Thistle has launched a pilot in its Marble Arch hotel and hopes to open three more hotel outlets later in the year. The company will look at developing the concept beyond hotels if the bars are successful.

Stefan Breg, Thistle’s food and beverage director and former Grand Met executive, says: “The concept has huge potential. CoMotion is a fusion of New York deli with an Italian café and was borne out of a need for a speedy and flexible format.”

The coffee bar market has grown so dramatically in the past few years that it has attracted the fast food giant McDonald’s.

It bought London-based coffee bar chain Aroma for about £10m in March this year.

Some analysts expect the market to continue its rapid growth and see the 300 or so coffee bars expand to as many as 1,500 outlets.

Other competitors in the coffee bar market include Starbucks, which bought the Seattle Coffee Company last year, and the Whitbread-owned Costa Coffee.

Thistle Hotels owns 24 hotels in the capital and 36 four-star properties across the country.

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