It’s not easy running a coffee business on two different sides of the world. Just ask Keith Jackson, executive chairman of Cooks Coffee. 

His business holds a stock exchange listing in New Zealand, where it was founded. Yet it doesn’t have any cafés there. Most of its activity happens in the UK and Ireland, where it has 87 outlets under master franchise Esquires Coffee and Triple Two, which it owns outright. 

The 12-hour time difference between the two countries is causing problems for British investors. By the time they are firing up their espresso machines, the New Zealand Stock Exchange has already closed.

So today, Cooks announced its intention to dual list on London’s Aquis exchange while retaining its listing in NZ. It makes sense given that a quarter of its investors are already based in the UK. Having its shares tradeable in the British time zone will make the business more accessible to potential investors in the UK, where “people can experience the offering and will be able to touch and feel things,” Jackson says.

Putting Cooks on the Aquis exchange is cost-effective and quick compared with other markets, he adds. In time, he believes it will be a good vehicle to raise capital for the business.

Given the economic situation, it won’t be an easy ride. Coffee shops stand to be particularly affected by the cost of living crisis. Even those that focus on value, like Greggs, are facing questions over their revenue prospects as consumers cut back on luxuries. 

Then there’s the issue of margins. Earlier in August, Greggs announced its pre-tax profits were largely unchanged despite a 27.1% boost to sales, due to the reintroduction of business rates, VAT and mounting overheads.

Yet there are factors weighing in the favour of Cooks. Its predominantly suburban estate is one reason why it is confident about its listing in London. As hybrid working patterns continue, it hopes it will benefit from workers spending more time around where they live. Given Greggs and Pret are shifting their estates away from city centre locations, it seems a clear plus point. 

That confidence remains even as Esquires gets ready to push up the price of its coffee in September – a cappuccino currently comes at £2.90 – while eyeing some troubling increases in the cost of dairy, which can account for 60% of the costs of lattes, cappuccinos and flat whites. But it believes its premium offer will still persuade consumers to part with their cash.

“Our outlook is better promotional items with better ingredients,” says Esquires UK MD Aiden Keegan. He argues there’s been “a huge jump in the appetite for experiential retail” throughout Covid, which is why the company focuses on creating a premium environment in its locations as well. 

It may just prove a proposition that gives both coffee drinkers and investors a buzz.