Loungers' Nick Collins shares the secrets of a successful all day concept

By Emily Sutherland

- Last updated on GMT

Loungers' Nick Collins shares the secrets of a successful all day concept

Related tags Coffee shops Coffee Drink

It’s a topsy turvy world for multiple site operators. Research from CGA Peach showed there’s a ‘strong appetite’ for coffee shops serving alcoholic drinks, with up to £77m extra revenue up for grabs from serving cocktails alone. June’s Greene King Leisure Tracker revealed a quarter of adults would like pubs to become a ‘third space’ between the office and home where people can work. 

Pubs, café, restaurant- the lines are increasingly blurred. But tapping into the market previously dominated by coffee shops is a valuable stream of revenue and new customers for operators. Leading the way is Loungers, the all-day café and bar concept where customers are as likely to come for breakfast as they are for a weekend drink.

Managing director Nick Collins explains the group’s success is due to its ability to attract an extremely wide demographic, including some consumers who might previously have turned to Starbucks or Costa.

“Lounges are very light and airy when compared with traditional pubs, which are often a bit more imposing. As such, it’s more inviting for women, mums and for older people. That’s what we do-no-one’s excluded at any time of day. There’s an incredibly wide demographic and you’ll see people of all ages here.”

“At six you’re as likely to see a family in having an early tea as you are younger people eating and drinking together.  At around 8, there will be a couple of guys coming for a pint. It’s a real mix. We run the menus from nine in the morning until ten at night, so you can still get a cooked breakfast at ten at night.”


The proof is in the pudding: on the Publican’s Morning Advertiser​’s visit, this wide demographic is immediately noticeable. ‘Wi-Fi workers’ mix easily with families and love-struck millennials instagramming their brunch.

The sites also appeal to the growing number of consumers, who as Collins puts it ‘want a home from home, where they can go out to stay in.’ Operators who want to reach this group need to pay careful consideration to interiors, from furniture to lighting.


“Our interiors are one of our strongest assets. It’s a lot more comfortable, and a lot more relaxed than traditional coffee shops. We put an enormous amount of effort in to the lighting, the right music volume, so throughout the day it adjusts. If you walk in the evening and it’s really busy, we make sure the music is that bit louder so people feel comfortable.”

Around 40% of the group’s drink sales are non-alcoholic, with tea, coffee, mocktails and juices an integral part of the business. Offering a wide selection of soft drinks allows Loungers to appeal to the growing numbers of people, particularly young people, who are drinking less.


“We’ve put a lot of effort into our mocktails and we sell thousands and thousands of them. When you’re out and about, you see groups of young people drinking soft drinks and coffee in to the evening, when ten years ago they’d have been nursing pints. Younger people seem to be better educated and more responsible. It’s a cultural shift that we’ve definitely seen and reacted to.”

Now on their 66th​ site, the group’s success is best summed up by a comment made by a waiter at the Bristol site. As a family celebrating a birthday with a Loungers breakfast pay up and leave, he asks if they will be returning later for an evening drink. With good food and coffee, attractive interiors and an evening drinks offer, Loungers can be something for everyone, for all occasions. 

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