Business Starbucks largest UK franchisee hits 100 store milestone

Starbucks largest UK franchisee hits 100 store milestone


Global coffeehouse brand Starbucks has had a presence here in the UK since 1998, when it opened its very first UK store on London’s King’s Road. They began the journey to become the trusted presence they now have in so many local high street stores and other locations in towns and cities this side of the pond by acquiring the Seattle Coffee Company, a chain of more than 60 coffee shops that was established by two Americans who had moved from Seattle to London.

Starbucks signed their first UK franchise partner in 2013, and now that same franchise partner 23.5 Degrees has celebrated their first decade by opening their 100th store this month.

23.5 Degrees is not only Starbucks UK’s longest-established franchisee, but also the largest, with plans to reach a target of 300 outlets by 2028. To mark the opening of their most recent store in Tamworth, Staffordshire, Mark Hepburn, general manager of 23.5 Degrees says “As we celebrate the opening of our 100th store, we look optimistically to the future and remain steadfast in our commitment to innovation, diversity and social responsibility. We couldn’t have achieved our success and 100 stores in the UK without our investors, contractors and Starbucks itself. Most importantly, I would like to thank our partners who have delivered day in and day out to ensure we continue to serve our customers and continue to build the business.”

The franchisee’s growth strategy focuses on convenience, with 59 of their units being drive-thru and most located on major roads or near major retail locations. This reflects data released in a recent report compiled by Project Cafe UK 2023 stating that the UK drive-thru coffee market grew 17.6% last year to nearly 700 locations. From an operator’s perspective, these locations naturally represent cheaper alternatives to high street locations and efficient processes ensure higher sales volume. 23.5 Degrees states: “We are actively seeking Drive Thru opportunities for both ownership and rental on major routes, close to major retail destinations or on major industrial estates. We will also consider Retail Park and ‘Drive To’ destinations, as well as High Street units in prominent locations with high foot traffic. We can act quickly in great new locations. Our use of modular design and construction enables our landlords to get our stores moving faster.”

With the franchisee saying they already have twenty-five new stores in the pipeline to launch in the coming year, it looks like their ambitious growth plans are well on their way to becoming a reality.

Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

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