Coffee shops and cafes booming in South Tyneside as borough sees 200% increase in businesses

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Caffeine-loving South Tynesiders have been fuelling a booming industry in the borough - but experts have warned there could be a bitter aftertaste.

The number of businesses selling coffee in South Tyneside has trebled since 2010, from 15 then to 45 this year, according to the latest Office for National Statistics (ONS) data.

The ONS figures are for unlicensed restaurants including both coffee shops and fast-foods outlets – and it is these two types of businesses that are driving the sector boom across the country, market analysts say.

But more businesses on high streets also means more competitors.

The investment bank Citibank said in a report released last year that the number of coffee shops cannot keep growing at the same high pace and forecast that the boom in the sector will not last beyond 2022.

People in the UK drink 95 million cups of coffee each day, up from 70million 10 years ago, according to a study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.

The data ONS shows that the opening of new coffee shops and fast-food restaurants in South Tyneside has slowed since 2016, but still increased by 29%.

The expansion of these businesses in South Tyneside was faster than the average for the UK.

Nationally, there are 28,900 unlicensed restaurants, nearly double eight years earlier.

Mike Cherry, the Federation of Small Business’s national chairman, said: “Crucially, it isn’t just chain stores who are seeing their fortunes rise, but independents are also thriving in this food and drink boom.

“Not only does this help small firms, but also gives shoppers a greater wealth of choice and promotes good healthy competition.”

“The caveat for this success is that all smaller firms, whether they are selling coffee, clothes or carpets are constantly threatened by ever-rising business rates.”

A spokesman from The Project Cafe UK, a network of coffee professionals which analyses the industry, warned that despite coffee shops doing well, Brexit could hamper the growth.

He said: “The industry mood remained confident over the last years, with 71% of coffee sector executives, interviewed by us, positive about the trading environment.

“However, deep concerns over key Brexit issues, such as trade and jobs, remain – a climate reflected in dampened like-for-like sales and impeded outlet growth.”