When Barry Hughes from Dunstable returned from holiday to his modest two bed terraced home, he didn't expect to see a Costa Coffee outlet established in his kitchen, but that is exactly what happened. A surprised Mr Hughes said, "I left the key with my neighbour to collect post and look after my cat, but I didn't think she would give access for Costa to set up. Ironically, the holiday was in Columbia, but I don't think that had anything to do with it."
Costa Coffee's Retail Operations Director, Ian Johnson, explained the new 'in-your-kitchen' outlet concept. "We have been successful in getting into every High Street, every out of town shopping mall, 90% of petrol stations, 70% of business parks, 65% of sports stadiums, 50% of community centres, 40% of garden centres and we even have a 3% penetration of the Mormon Community which is a real triumph as they are not allowed to drink coffee. But, we are always looking to increase our saturation across the country and we realised that homes in most streets and roads could be a great opportunity.
When we heard that Mr Hughes was away for two weeks, we decided to 'make over' his kitchen with our new 'in-your-kitchen' concept because he was more than 5 minutes away from 3 Costa outlets in his neighbourhood. That cannot be allowed. Trading has been brisk, but we mainly concentrate on take out orders as there are is only seating for three. However, we are in negotiations with Mr Hughes for exclusive use of his lounge at peak periods.
Customers have not been slow to express their views about their their new Costa Coffee outlet. "It's really handy for me as I live just two doors away, so I don't even have to get out of my slippers", said student Josh Martin. Office assistant Denise Jones was less keen, saying "The coffee's fine, but his decor is awful and I'm particularly not impressed with his 1970s units. They're more shabby than chic."
A bemused Mr Hughes is still trying to come to terms with having Costa in his kitchen. "On the one hand, you get decent coffee but I also have to provide accommodation for their barista and his two assistants who are forever fooling around trying to make heart shapes in the frothy milk. Next time, I'll just book a week in Skegness."