Skip to content

The Coffee Shop Craze: What We Can Learn From This Recent Obsession

Certainly you’ve seen them: little establishments with the sole purpose of selling coffee in a welcoming environment. Sometimes they sell alcohol, sometimes they sell pastries, sometimes they don’t roast their own beans. But one thing they all have in common is: there is clearly something special about their atmosphere and they’re becoming consistently more popular.

No they don’t have to always be Starbucks – there are a lot of individual, locally owned coffee houses and this local feel tends to be preserved in the atmosphere and aura for many of these establishments.

Why are coffee shops so popular? What lessons can we draw for marketing? Here are four reasons coffee shops are increasingly popular and how we can can use this information to our benefit in marketing.


In an opinion piece for Psychology Today, Dr. Lindsay J. McCunn talks extensively about how coffee shops provide a social atmosphere for people to make new friends, connect with old ones, and feel a sense of belonging. She attributes their rise to popularity to this.

What We Can Learn:

Your brand, your advertising, your branch – they all should be places your members feel like they belong. Your brand should feel approachable. Your advertising should have content that people relate to and makes them feel feel at home. And your branches or storefronts should be comfortable through and through – everything from inviting interiors to friendly customer service should work toward this goal.


Shana Lebowitz from Business Insider wrote that people feel more productive in coffee shops than their day-to-day environments. She cites studies that experimented with people giving the impression that they were working on a difficult task. This then motivated those around them to work just as hard on their easy task.

What We Can Learn:

Everything we put out should be motivational to a degree. Ultimately, it should be quality work. We should always strive for excellence in our marketing and advertising. We may not think the public notices, but when we put forth low-effort work, they can tell. So everything from our community relations to social media campaigns should be implemented with the intent to inspire.

Good Feeling

Coffee in general makes people feel good. As Tom Stafford writes for The Psychologist, “Caffeine has been shown to affect dopamine…Dopamine is strongly associated with the subjective feelings of reward and heavily implicated with the physiology of reinforcement.” Couple this with the positive reinforcement of getting more work done in a motivational environment and we can clearly see why coffee shop customers keep coming back for more.

What We Can Learn:

Reward people for seeing your ad. Your campaigns should evoke a sense of satisfaction in people. Quality advertising and marketing gives something back. Every campaign should be quality work because when you put your heart into your work, the public can tell.

The coffee shop craze has rushed in with a fury in the past several years. Chain and independent coffeehouses continue to rise in popularity and influence in our culture. Evaluating the psychology behind any wildly popular fad is valuable for understanding the reason why we as a culture obsess over anything. Understanding what makes our culture tick really drives what we do in the marketing sphere. Someday soon, coffee shops may move over and something else will take its place in our society. But for today, we will take a sip of our dark roast and dig into this week’s marketing plans.

If you need help preparing or executing your marketing plan, please reach out at or follow us on Twitter or Facebook @KearleyAndCo.


The Psychologist “Psychology in the Coffee Shop”

Business Insider “It’s not your imagination — psychologists say you probably are more productive in coffee shops”

Psychology Today “Environmental Psychology and the Coffee Shop”

Share the Post:

Related Posts