Holland & Barrett cafe

Source: Holland & Barrett

H&B launched its first café concession in Birmingham in November 2023

Holland & Barrett is to extend its café concessions trial with the opening of a second site in London.

Since November, H&B has been running a takeaway hot drinks service from a single store in Birmingham, as part of its efforts to make its food and drink proposition more compelling. 

A second concession will now be added to its store in Victoria London in July, H&B confirmed.

Last month, H&B registered the trademark ‘H&Bean’ with the government’s Intellectual Property Office. The listing covered two specific classes, which indicated that it planned to roll out the service further.

One related to the provision of café and takeaway food and drink services. The other covers a selection of coffee-based beverages, tea and cocoa.

“We can confirm we are running a further operational trial of our coffee with benefits proposition in our store in Victoria, London from mid-July,” a Holland & Barrett spokeswoman told The Grocer.

“However, there are no current plans to extend the trial to more stores at this time.”

The spokeswoman did not provide any further detail as to what the new concession would offer, or how early sales at the first had performed.

When Holland & Barrett first launched its ‘Drinks with Benefits’ service at its Birmingham High Street store, the retailer said it wanted to test customer demand for a barista-prepared proposition.

The counter sells a 16-strong range of ‘health focused’ hot drinks including infused teas and vitamin blended coffees. Some of the lines would also be rolled into H&B stores for consumers to drink at home, adding a new “entry point” for customers, H&B head of food and beverage Rachel Chatterton said at the time.

Over the past 18 months, H&B has been expanding its food and drink offer, as part of a wider transformation and store rebuild plan under owner Letter One. It is understood that executives felt H&B’s range – which more recently had become tailored towards its staple of vitamins, health products and dried fruit – was too narrow and needed to be more competitive. 

It led H&B to relaunch its entire food category in September 2023, with an initial 500 new lines rolling into stores. It included 300 brand new own-label products, some of which were coffee.

It has also introduced branded medicines into its stores for the first time. And has been investing in ‘tech health’ products like DNA and at home blood tests in order to widen its appeal.

In March, The Grocer revealed the appointment of a new UK CEO as part of a wider group restructure aimed at its next stage of growth. Anthony Houghton, who was chief operating officer, now leads a distinct UK and Ireland division.