Caffè Nero needs to retain its premium offering, in order to maintain its attraction to customers, despite a noticeable contraction in consumers’ disposable income, founder and group CEO Gerry Ford has told the World Coffee Portal.

He said the extensive inflation it was experiencing meant the business had a strong focus on taking extra costs out of the business, and that there was an acceptance that it may have to increase some prices in store.

“We are also witnessing contracting consumer disposable income, meaning customers have less readily available cash and are being careful where they spend it. So we need to make sure the quality of what we’re selling and the service we are providing remains premium so that we can continue to attract customers,” he said in an interview.

Ford said the group as trading above pre-pandemic levels around the globe, and that one of the key learnings from the recent economic turmoil had been that it is important to have tight controls, and never have too much excess in your business, so you can pivot easily.

“We have been very strict with ourselves in that area and it’s meant we could react quickly to some of the market conditions we’ve been faced with.”

Caffè Nero recently reported strong sales in the first four months of its financial year, with trading at 107% of pre-pandemic levels.

During the period from June to September 2022, the coffee shop chain opened 14 new stores, four of which were in the UK, including a flagship site at Stansted Airport.

The group is forecasting a further 18 new sites during the second quarter – seven of these would be in the UK.