A coffee shop chain owned and operated by brewer SA Brain has won a record breaking fifth title as Coffee Bar Chain of the Year at the Café Society Awards.
The award, which was announced at a ceremony at the Rooftop Gardens in Kensington, London, saw Coffee#1 beat off some of the best known names on the High Street to secure the title.
Coffee#1 was acquired by Brains in October 2011. Since then the brewer has developed the business to include 31 coffee shops across Wales and the South West, with the most recent opening in Winton, Bournemouth in May.
SA Brain has announced plans for a further four openings across the summer and has a target of 50 shops within three years.
The Café Society award completes a hat-trick of national industry awards for Brains, which has also won Managed House Pub Company of the Year and Food Pub Company of the Year at the 2013 Publican Awards.
Philip Lay, retail director at SA Brain, puts the success of Coffee#1 down to three key elements.
“We have a very simple vision driving the business,” he said. “The finest coffee, friendly service and the kind of comfortable environment where people genuinely want to spend time. We aim to be the ultimate coffee house experience.
“It’s a winning formula and the Café Society award, especially when you consider it is for the fifth year on the run, is a massive testament to the team at Coffee#1.
“Coffee#1 has been a great success story for us and we continue to invest in its development. We recently opened a dedicated training academy at Fishponds in Bristol where all of our staff receive their training as baristas.”
Jim Winship, director of the Café Society, said: “Our independent panel of judges is difficult to impress and it’s unusual for a business to repeatedly win an award, which bears testament to the success of Coffee #1’s business model.”
Coffee#1 is an independent chain of coffee houses dotted across South Wales, the West Country and the south coast of England.
The chain’s first store on Wood Street in Cardiff opened in April 2001 and since then the company has grown to 31 stores, employing almost 250 staff.