Whitbread buys Coffee Nation vending machines

Hotel and restaurant group Whitbread has bought the Coffee Nation brand with a view to launching self-service coffee machines under the name Costa Express.

Whitbread, which already owns Costa Coffee, is paying £59.5m for the brand, which operates 900 coffee machines.

The group said it would aim to open 3,000 Costa Express vending machines across the UK over the next five years.

Whitbread said Coffee Nation “self-serve bars” were “fundamentally different” from traditional hot drink vending machines because they used fresh milk and freshly-ground coffee.

“Customers increasingly want great tasting coffee on the go, which makes the self-serve coffee market very attractive,” said Mr Harrison.

Costa Coffee has 1,850 outlets around the world, with 1,200 in the UK.