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Costa

Costa
Costa
Locations:60 MSAs
Associated names:EDC, Burger King
Introduced:2001
Predecessors:Cafe Continental, Caffe Ritazza, Coffee Nation, Little Chef, LP4, Upper Crust
Successors:Nescafé Nation, Greggs, Subway
Opening hours:Most motorway sites 24 hours
Website:
costa.co.uk
Facebook Page
Twitter: @CostaCoffee

It feels like there's not a building in Europe which doesn't serve Costa, usually in several places at once. This is certainly the case on the motorways.

Costa's UK operations are owned by the Whitbread Group. The brand started in London in 1971, and by the early 2000s Costa Coffee and its slogan at the time "Italian about coffee" was becoming a familiar sight in most town centres and shopping centres.

Motorway History

Roadchef were the first operator to introduce Costa to their motorway services, replacing Cafe Continental, as part of a nationwide investment programme. It joined Wimpy and rivalled Granada's relationship with Caffe Ritazza.

A few years later Moto followed by replacing all their Caffe Ritazza outlets with Costa. Welcome Break, who had been keen to be different, eventually adopted Starbucks and were keen to stress that this sets them apart, however they now offer Costa Express too.

Over the years the availability of Costa has spread from being tucked away in an old unit or a stand next to the restaurant to being served outside the entrance, in the restaurant, from a portable stand, in the shop and in the petrol station - usually all at the same time.

The lounges have become increasingly stylish as the image of service stations and of Costa has changed. Many services now rely on Costa's menu only to meet their obligation to provide food 24 hours a day.

In July 2016, Roadchef opened their first Costa drive thru, in a similar style to Welcome Break's Starbucks drive thrus. More are expected to follow with both Roadchef and Moto.

Road Signs

Roadchef were the first to change their operating logo to read 'Roadchef Costa Coffee', sneakily allowing them to advertise Costa from the motorway. Moto later decided to go one better, changing their headboard to 'Costa M&S' or other variants.

Other Roadside Sites

Many former Esso On the Run stores used to include a Costa café, where you could pay for your fuel at the same time. These all closed by 2015 and many have been replaced by Subway and Greggs at Euro Garages sites.

Through its relationship with Moto, Costa has become a popular choice to replace former Little Chef restaurants. However, Euro Garages are currently the fastest-growing operator in the industry, and as Euro Garages use Starbucks, Costa has begun to take a back seat in this field.

Drive Thru

Costa Drive Thru at Strensham North
A Costa Drive Thru outlet

In July 2016, Roadchef were the first operator to introduce a Costa Drive Thru unit to a motorway service area at their Rownhams eastbound site. One has also opened on the westbound side since and now opening at other Roadchef sites. Then, in April 2017, Moto also introduced a Costa Drive Thru to their Reading eastbound site.

Unlike the Starbucks sites, all of the Costa drive thrus built so far don't offer any seating. It is being included in many new service station proposals.

Costa Express

Costa Express at Leigh Delamere petrol station.
A pair of Costa Express machines.

In March 2011 Whitbread, owner of the Costa Coffee brand, purchased Coffee Nation with the intention of re-branding it as Costa Express.

Coffee Nation was a brand widely seen across motorway service areas providing coffee machines within petrol forecourts and WHSmith outlets. They are also seen at most a-road services.

Costa Express machines now offer five varieties of hot drinks and are the largest coffee machine provider for forecourts in the UK.

In 2013, Costa introduced its new Costa Express Marlow machine, which has a larger offering than its predecessor, offering 250 varieties of hot drink. It is being slowly introduced to motorway services.

Locations

Costa can be found at many motorway service stations. They are:

Motorway Forecourts

Moto have been adding Costa in some of their forecourts. They are:

Motorway Drive Thrus

Costa Drive Thru units can now be found at some services. They are:

Ireland

Costa can be found at the following services in Ireland:

Costa Express Only

The following motorway services provide Costa Express machines only:

A-road Services

A-road Drive Thrus

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