Coffee shops a growing favourite

2017-05-02 06:00

Looking for a cup of joe? Ask anyone living in the foreshore – they’re the city centre’s coffee addicts.

These residents visit coffee shops three to five times a week, according to the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID)’s State of the central city report 2016 – The year in review.

This is the highest percentage of coffee drinkers in the city centre, despite being its smallest residential area.

Closely behind foreshore residents are those living in the CCID’s third precinct, which includes the Company’s Gardens and Long Street.

The foreshore also had the highest figures for people eating out per week (as many as 60% said they ate out somewhere between one to five times per week, with 10% saying they ate out as often at six to 10 times per week), explains Carola Koblitz, editor of the report and CCID spokesperson.

“This is also the precinct with high numbers of residents in the higher income groups working in industries such as the financial sector, architecture and engineering. Add these factors together and quite possibly these residents have a higher level of disposable income than those in other precincts,” she says.

“In terms of precinct 3, this area is traditionally the central city’s entertainment and leisure district, and has had coffee shops and eateries probably for longer than other precincts so that could account for the high number of coffee drinkers on the one side, but it also has a high number of freelancers or people who are self-employed and we have found that many people who work for themselves, particularly among the millennials, congregate in coffee shops to work.”

Those looking for a coffee fix are spoiled for choice in the city centre. Out of the 209 establishments the CCID has listed as “eateries”, 33 are dedicated coffee shops, explains Koblitz.

“However, many people also get their caffeine cravings fulfilled on their way to work in the morning via a takeaway venue where they can grab a coffee on the go. There are a total of 45 takeaway establishments in the central city and certainly the lion’s share of them will sell coffee,” she adds.

But the rise of coffee drinkers in the city centre indicates more than just a coffee craving, says Koblitz.

When coffee shops tend to start springing up in old neighbourhoods, there is usually a concern that the area is about to gentrify, explains Koblitz.

“However, the rise of coffee shops in the Cape Town central city indicates that there is now a community of residents (which really didn’t exist before) and other downtown stakeholders, such as office workers, who are looking for what is often referred to as a ‘third space’ – a place between work and home where people can congregate, have a cup of coffee, maybe do some work using Wi-Fi, visit with friends, read a newspaper. In other words, it shows that a downtown community is starting to grow in the area.”

The growth of this “third space” will hopefully trigger a response from other retailers to come into the area to serve that community in ways which may not yet exist, Koblitz says.

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