Customer Story

Costa Coffee brews up Dayforce expansion

The coffee retailer partners with Dayforce to build the global infrastructure to scale its workforce.
  • Increased efficiency around labour planning and compliance

  • Improved employee experience around tracking availability and scheduling

  • Reduced manager time spent scheduling from days to minutes


Costa Coffee is one of the UK's largest coffee shops. Italian brothers Sergio and Bruno Costa set up a small roastery in 1971, where they blind-tested 112 variations of coffee before finding their signature blend – Mocha Italia – which is still used today. Since their start with a single roastery over 52 years ago, the company has grown with more than 2,500 retail stores and 15,000 express machines in over 35 countries.


Dunstable, England

Starting the day with a fresh cup of hand-crafted coffee is something that people around the world are familiar with. The smell of coffee can lift spirits on a rainy day and be enjoyed in the company of friends. It is something that is woven into people’s daily lives and experiences, and Costa Coffee strives to deliver these experiences to its customers through the values of Passion, Warmth, Trust, and Courage. Costa Coffee’s Baristas are trained in the art of making great coffee at Costa Coffee’s training academy and share these values through each of the over five million cups of coffee they serve each week.

Costa Coffee’s journey started in 1971 when the Costa brothers – Sergio and Bruno – arrived in London from their home country of Italy and brought their Italian verve for coffee with them. Setting up a small roastery, they blind-tested 112 variations of coffee before finding their signature blend – Mocha Italia, which is still used today.

Since their start with a single roastery over 52 years ago, the company has grown with more than 2,500 retail stores and 15,000 express machines in over 35 countries. Costa Coffee is headquartered in the United Kingdom and employs 35,000 people globally. The company’s state-of-the-art roastery in Basildon, Essex produces 45,000 tonnes of coffee a year, and uses only the best 1% of the world’s coffee beans to ensure quality in every cup.

“One of the things that Costa Coffee has always wanted to do is disrupt the coffee market. We see ourselves as saving our customers from drinking mediocre coffee,” says Andy Ratcliffe, Costa Coffee’s Head of Global People Shared Services. One of the ways Costa Coffee has done this is by expanding outside of the traditional retail model with express machines, delivery, in home and ready-to-drink products, making it the total coffee company. This ensures that customers can interact with Costa Coffee in the way that fits best with their daily lives.

Ambition for growth

In 2018, Costa Coffee was acquired by Coca-Cola – the world’s largest beverage company. This provided a new opportunity for the company to expand its global reach.

“Our ambition for Costa Coffee is to inspire the world to love great coffee,” says Ratcliffe. “We are aiming to grow the size of our business in the next couple of years. We have spent the time since the acquisition refining our strategy and planning how we get to the next level.”

This new growth target presents Costa Coffee with the challenge of scaling its workforce quickly enough to keep pace with the expansion. For Ratcliffe, it’s all about how the company can develop and grow its employees and leaders, to have a sound foundation to build on. “We don't want the team to spend their time worrying about the mechanics of whether we can hire people, pay people, promote people, deliver learning to people. We want the team out there growing our people and our business.”

The people who handcraft coffee and deliver customer service to Costa Coffee customers every single day are the beating heart of the brand. It's their skill, dedication, pride and passion on which the brand and customer loyalty are built. With stiff competition in the retail market, Costa Coffee differentiates itself through service.

Costa Coffee recognized that with the growth targets set, the company needed a technology solution to ensure it could scale its workforce efficiently while maintaining the quality of service. “When you're a company of our size, it's important you choose the right partner. Our most expensive and most valuable resource is our people, and it's absolutely crucial that we leverage them effectively.”

Engaged employees, satisfied customers

Costa Coffee began its partnership with Dayforce in 2015, and implemented Dayforce for labour planning and workforce management. The company realized that as it grew, it needed a system that could plan and model labour requirements for its growing number of retail locations.

“What Dayforce offers us is a proven global solution and a proven partner that can deliver on all the fronts that we need as a business, throughout the suite of HR management tools,” says Ratcliffe.

Managing the labour planning and scheduling for a large, global company with employees of all ages and roles is no small feat, and with Dayforce, the leadership team at Costa Coffee can make decisions based on data.

Dayforce also helps Costa Coffee give its employees the best experience possible. “One of the things that is at the core of Costa's culture is a desire to constantly innovate and be disruptive in the way we deliver fantastic experiences to our customers,” says Ratcliffe. “What we really want to achieve is exactly that same level of disruption for our team members around the world. We have been working with Dayforce for a number of years to deliver this, all through a single piece of technology.”

Lauren Dent, former Store Manager and now People System Manager at Costa Coffee, used Dayforce to better schedule her people. “Before Dayforce, we had schedule issues around tracking employee availability,” she says. “Some of our employees are in school, so their availability is not consistent. Notes about availability would often get missed or misplaced, and people would be scheduled when they're not available. Now that we use Dayforce for scheduling, employees can update their availability in the system immediately, helping them to achieve a better work-life balance.”

Not only is Costa Coffee’s People team able to provide its employees with a better experience, but they have also gained efficiencies around tracking labour hours and compliance, allowing them more time to focus on growing the business.

Adopting efficiencies

Costa Coffee has seen a 100% adoption rate of Dayforce across the retail business, and every employee can access the Dayforce mobile app to manage their availability and scheduling on the go.

Costa Coffee also encourages stores to schedule for the “ideal” hours that are suggested by Dayforce labour planning to maximize the efficiency and service of each location. “Dayforce is really clever in identifying trends week-over-week and it's actually more accurate than I found myself to be. Dayforce really understands our trade patterns and can help find efficiencies in scheduling hour by hour,” says Dent.

Not only have managers gained scheduling efficiencies through labour planning, but they have also saved time in creating those schedules. “I used to spend a few days pouring over schedules and trying to work out who was available. Now, this information is available immediately in Dayforce, and I can post schedules within minutes. It gives me time back to spend on my customers and my team,” says Dent.

Growing together

Looking forward, Costa Coffee is planning to implement Dayforce Payroll and HR to further consolidate its systems.

“Extending Dayforce into our core payroll and core HR processes is a massive win for us. Today we now run labour management connected to payroll administration,” says Ratcliffe. “Having one source of data will dramatically simplify our core accounting and compliance processes.”

With the scale of growth that Costa Coffee is looking to achieve in the next few years, a solid partnership and technological foundation for managing its most important resource is critical.

“Our ambition truly is to become the world's best-loved coffee brand. To achieve that, we are going to have to grow at an extraordinary rate over the coming years,” says Ratcliffe. “This is so exciting from a people perspective, because it provides a lot of opportunity to create new roles and bring on new team members. Our partnership with Dayforce enables us to build the global infrastructure that makes this possible. I can't think of many jobs that are more exciting.”

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