* Prices may differ from that shown
ok, I hold my hands up I am not a coffee or tea drinker at all but I do like a nice hot chocolate every now and again. Caffe Nero for me is the best all round place to go, without trying the tea and coffee!!
Caffe Nero began in 1997 with a coffee shop in London. It grew rapidly, with the rise in popularity of coffee shops it now has over 500 stores in UK up and down high streets, in airports, department stores and retail parks. I've personally been to several up and down the country, Leamington my home town has 3, 2 in town and 1 on the retail park and all have seated areas.
Caffe Nero does a wide range of coffees which includes cappuccinos, espresso, latte and Americano. They also do tea but the menu is not as extensive. Sweeter drinks wise they do hot chocolates, mochas, and also iced frappes. If this is not to your taste then the usual fizzy soft drinks and fruit juices can be bought.
Food wise Caffe Nero does a good selection of sandwiches, paninis, soup, cakes, muffins and selected breakfast items like porridge. Some items will be selected availability, I often find the cake variety will vary store to store but a good choice is still there to suit all needs and they also do little things like chocolates and biscotti if you don't want a cake or muffin.
They also occasionally do seasonal drinks/foods, at Christmas Ive seen them selling mince pies and gingerbread men and in the summer they bring out new milk shake flavours.
Price wise Caffe Nero is pretty much on par with other coffee shops. I went in a few weeks ago with my sister and we had 2 hot chocolate milanos, a Panini, soup, 1 cake and a can of lemonade and it was just over £18. For hot drinks on there own its around £2.80 for a small and £3.40 for a large. Food is around £2 for a cake, £4 for a Panini and wrapped chocolate is around £1. Caffe Nero like many coffee shops do a loyalty scheme where they give you a little piece of card which they stamp every time you buy a drink then after 9 you can get your 10th free by handing it in then start again. I don't drink in there often enough to use these but my sister does.
My favourite items/Overall thoughts
For me as a hot chocolate drinker they do the best hot chocolates around called the Milano. Now its only available to drink in but its a lovely thick and rich hot chocolate and goes well with my sweet tooth, to some this might be a bit to sweet but for me it is the best hot chocolate out there. Food wise I really like the soup range they do and when I go in with my sister we often enjoy a bowl of this for our lunch. I'm not a regular customer here because drinking hot chocolate every day is not only expensive but also fattening so I go maybe once or twice per month and I've never had any issues or bad food/drink whilst in there. The one thing I would say is that is can get busy and it can take 15-20 minutes to get served so if you are of limited time I would recommend checking the length of queue first because it can be slow at clearing. Overall for me the best coffee shop.
5/5 because I do like it!
Caffe Nero the Italian coffee shop has been my favourite coffee shop since moving to London I rate it above all the others and I've tried them all.
I used to visit caffe Nero every day before work ( have cut down due to funds and wanting to save) and in the summer I would generally get a nice iced drink which come in a range of flavours I used to get either a vanilla or strawberry milkshake costing roughly £3.00 and during the winter it would be a nice hot chocolate costing £2.35 to keep me warm. I think the prices are quite average for a coffee shop I know it's cheaper to make your own but they don't taste the same do they? Not only do caffe Nero sell drinks but they also sell tasty snacks
You can pick up a loyalty card from any caffe Nero and once you've had 10 drinks which equal 10 stamps you get a free drink of your choice and size, I always go for large when it's a free drink.
I have never had bad service at a caffe Nero, I tend to always visit the same one when travelling to work but even on shopping trips and outings when I pop in for a quick drink I always receive great customer service skills. I'm never greeted with anything less than a smile and a hello, how can I help? I always find the staff are pleasant and eager to help. Which is great compared to a lot of people in London.
Aside from my usual hot chocolate/ milkshake caffe Nero obviously do a huge range of coffees from an expresso to my favourite coffee which is a white chocolate mocha, they do Latte, cappuccino, tea, a full range of hot drinks and cold drinks as well. They do my favourite milkshakes, frappe mocha, iced tea, frappe cappuccino, ice latte, fruit juices, fizzy drinks, water.
Food and snacks
There is a huge range of snacks from here from sandwiches, Pannis, muffins, cakes, biscuits, salad, pasta, soup,
Crisps, chocolate and porridge.
Well I love Caffe Nero and will continue to use it as much as I can. It tastes great, the prices are fairly good and you get great satisfaction from being treated so well by the staff.
when it comes to coffe, certainly cafe nero offer the best one in this side of london but when it comes to customer service Cafe Nero has the rudest staff in london
first came across the joy of a Café Nero in the small town of Rugby. I was recommended by a friend to have their hot chocolate. We had it to go, and with fresh whipped cream on top. It was delicious!
Unlike other coffee shops I have visited before and after that time, this hot chocolate was what it said on the tin: hot and chocolatey; I hate drinking a hot chocolate that is luke warm, an enjoyable thing about it is being able to nurse it.
Suffice to say, it doesn't just sell hot chocolate! It has many a cold drink, their own fruit drinks, regular soft drinks and iced coffees. Nero also sells a selection of different coffees and teas. It has its own pasta, sandwich and wrap selection. It has a selection of pastries and cakes on offer. It also sells biscuits and chocolates.
Before visiting Nero, I had never tried a latte or even a chai latte. The former because I wasn't a coffee drinker, and the latter because I didn't have any idea what it would be like. Nowadays, before an exam I make sure I have a cup of Nero's latte (if I'm tried) as it is the perfect thing to wake me up and it is really tasty too. And the Chai latte is perfect for a cold winter day accompanied with a succulent winter-y dessert (yes just my own excuse to be able to indulge in naughty things! ).
The customer service I have always found to be remarkable (even in Rugby!), I've visited every Nero in Nottingham, (obviously) the one in Rugby, and one in York. Every time I have been in one, the staff have been friendly and willing to help with anything, they don't feel the need to rush you in making a decision if you aren't sure what you want, and they don't mind if you sit in there with one drink for two hours whilst revising (yes, that's what I did, every Thursday for 2 months as an exam-time treat).
In everyone that I have gone to, they always make sure that they thank you for your custom as they leave.
They are never just standing around doing nothing; cleaning, tidying, serving, checking on the toilets.
The music creates a perfect ambience for relaxation, I often go just to sit and read a book if I've had a tough day and want to escape for a while, or if I want an excuse to have their shortbread! It is never too loud so that you can't hear what your friends are saying. The decorations are not too dark or imposing, and this helps to give a light feel to the rooms and helps you feel more comfortable.
The place is always clean and unless it is extremely busy, in which case the staff can be excused, there is always a clear table, or a table being cleared for you to sit at.
The price is not extortionate but it is not relatively cheap either, but going to any other decent coffee shop would still put a whole in your pocket/purse/wallet. I like the use of their loyalty card; get it stamped once for each drink that they personally brew or mix and you get a stamp, collect 9 and you get a free 10th drink!
For all the reasons stated above, I would always be willing to pay the price that Nero is currently selling their produce; their food and drinks are tasty, their staff are warm and welcoming, and the atmosphere is perfect for any occasion, the accommodation and facilities are clean and tidy unless really busy. I could not say the same sentence about any other cafe that I have been in to, even one of the most well known ones in York, Betty's.
the only negative is that the prcies for the actual food may be a bit too much, but it is a nice treat sometimes as the food is usually very tasty. and actually stops me spending money on food i don't necessarily need!!
I looked after a disabled, wheelchair bound parent for over ten years, so obviously when I'm out in coffee bars or restaurants I'm very aware of how staff treat disabled or elderly customers. I really do have to congratulate the staff at Nero's in Harborne for the way they look after the elderly and disabled. I've noticed that they will always bring coffee over to any customer with mobility problems and try to make them as welcome and as comfortable as possible. The branch at Harborne is very busy and so it isn't always easy to do this but they continue to make the effort. I just wish Nero's had been open when my disabled mum was alive she would have loved it! believe me you do not get this treatment everywhere!
It is quite evident these days that high streets are being tansformed by expensive, trendy cafes such as Starbucks, Costa Coffee and Pret a Manger. However, I believe one cafe stands head and shoulders above the other ones (like the Roman Emperor Nero) and that is Caffe Nero.
Picture this, it is a lazy Saturday afternoon and you are sprawled across a wonderfully chocolate leather sofa, sipping tepid coffee and reading the news without a care in the world. The ubiquitous, unctuous aroma of roasted coffee is all-engulfing, the background jazz music is mellow and the chat of others melts away into the background. This is what it is like at Cafe Nero.
The range and quality of the coffee is excellent at this Cafe, it is really authentic Italian coffee (unlike fake Costa Coffee). They really do have everything from Americano to Zuppa (soups). All coffees come in a nice porcelain coffee cup - the way it should be, sprinkled with a little chocolate powder shaped as a coffee bean.
Heed my words of advice though, occasionally the coffee can be a tad strong since they usually put 2 shots of espresso, in this case just go to the friendly barista who will add a smidgeon of milk. The cold drinks are a treat, since they are perfect for a hot Summer day and they are very tasty and extremely smooth (unlike frappuccinos and frescatos with bits of ice).
There is complementary iced water which is unique to this cafe, along with a well-stocked assortment of sugar, salt, pepper, milk and other such condiments...
Truth be told, they make perfect espressos, but it gets better, the food is incredibly tasty and delicious.
They have a wide range of food from soups (tomato and basil, pumpkin, fish...) to panini (mozzarella and tomato, tuna, ham and cheese...), which are all absolutely delicious!. All the food tastes amazingly fresh and delectable and quite affordable. The handmade crisps are out of this world!
The atmosphere is astoundingly relaxing, and it is a great place to come with friends or just by yourself for a little 'me' time. It is wonderfully decorated with lovely mellow-coloured walls adorned with modern art pieces and furnished with comfy leather sofas resting on wooden flooring.
You certainly don't feel rushed in this cafe (unlike other ones), the staff are very friendly and are always happy to assist. You also build up a since of loyalty as they run a loyalty card scheme, whereby you buy 9 coffees and get a tenth free.
There is always a myriad of newspapers available to read, they generally in very good condition and in abundance and you can easily lose yourself (I often find myself doing this!)
Another major advantage is that if you have ordered some food, the baristas can easily find you because they have given you a wooden block with numbers. Other cafes have a serious issue with this, as there is no such system and baristas can annoy you because they ask people if they have ordered a particular dish.
~~~PRICE AND LOCATION~~~
Generally, the prices of coffee and food are quite competitive although they are generally expensive due to the market. A normal coffee will cost around £2.30, I honestly think it is worth it because of the actual experience you get as well.
Although not as widespread as Costa or Starbucks, caffe Nero can generally be found quite easily and it is likely there is one on your high street. They are quite convenient in cities especially London, and random there wonderfully relaxed atmosphere yet boasting an Italian tradition.
For more information see: http://www.caffenero.com/default.asp
All in all, well worth trying, you may even find you get addicted to your local one! Also, if anyone goes to one, please try the chocolate coated coffee beans and tell me how they are, it looks really indulgent!
I stumbled across Caffe Nero on a busy shopping day and the shop itself appeared spacious and welcoming, with seating available outside.
I was acknowledged by a member of staff as soon as I entered the shop, and this has been the case everytime I have been there, irrelevant of how busy it is.
I find they make a variety of coffee options, along with the option of making the coffee milder. I do enjoy the taste of the coffee, my preference being a latte, however I have been experimenting since venturing to Nero, although I find the cost of the syrup a bit on the steep side.
For drinks you receive a "loyalty" card, whereby you buy 9 coffees and get your tenth free, which I think all coffe shops should bear in mind.
The food choices are pastries for breakfast and cakes, soups and various rolls throughout the day. I do enjoy the breakfast choices, but the prices on the rolls are a bit pricey, but worth considering for lunch on the move.
I would definately recommend Caffe Nero as a place to relax, read a newspaper and drink a coffee.
I'm surprised that Café Nero has received several negative reviews on here, as my experience has always been entirely positive.
The marketplace is now overrun with these coffee shops - it doesn't seem long ago it was pretty difficult to find somewhere that sold decent coffee! Now we have Starbucks, Café Rouge, Café Nero, Costa etc. etc. The choice seems endless!
What has always impressed me about Café Nero more than the others has been the friendliness and helpfulness of the staff. They really do go out of their way to assist you, and they never rush you as is so often the case. I wouldn't single out any particular branch, as remarkably, I've always found the service to be equally good around the country. Even in the busy branch opposite Euston Station, there was a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
They have a wide selection of drinks and eats available. In addition to the usual array of hot drinks - coffee, tea etc. - they also make their own cold drinks including iced teas and coffees which have been absolutely fantastic during the hot spells this summer. I can highly recommend the Iced Frappé Mocha which appeared this year - just like melted coffee ice cream - delicious!
Equally, the food has always seemed very fresh and extremely delicious! There is the wide selection of cakes and pastries, as well as salads and sandwiches.
The atmosphere is always very pleasant - there is tasteful (often classical) music playing in the background, and newspapers available to read.
At the moment, they are running a loyalty scheme by when you've been 12 times, you get a free drink - this is an excellent scheme, and I've seen people on their third or fourth loyalty card.
In Bath there are two branches of Caffe Nero... the one opposite the Guildhall and the one beside the water hospital. Having moved recently my route to work has changed and I started to walk past the branch near the Guildhall. I only started drinking coffee last year so I still feel very grown up whenever I get myself a coffee.
The staff in this branch are lovely, after just a couple of days they were greeting me like their best pal. Caffe Nero also offer a loyalty card - they stamp it each time you buy a store made beverage, and once you have 9 stamps your next drink is free! You can order any store made drink, make it massive, fill it with several shots of expresso and smother it in whipped cream if you want to.
Then I got a new bike, so my route changed now I was on wheels and I was a bit sad to move to the other branch. I needn't have worried, again the staff are brilliant! This branch also has a small outside seating area, so I've actually made some new friends - regulars who are outside most mornings- as I had to convince them to watch the bike. We exchange pleasantries and they are trying to convince me to get there earlier so I can sit with them and have a chat. Bless 'em.
Another bonus with this branch is that for the first few times you present your new card they stamp it twice! Amazing! So on my stamp at the moment I've got about 3 stamps for drinks I didn't have. When you have 6 or so they just stamp it once. I have no idea why, and I'm sure the other branch don't do this.
I always order the same coffee - regular mocha with cream. 'Cos I'm on the bike they pop it in my thermos for me (I did have a few weeks of covering myself, my helmet and my bike in stinking coffee before I bit the bullet and bought one). Now, since I only started drinking coffee recently I feel a bit of a fraud judging this, especially since there seems to be lots of people out there with very definite ideas of what a good coffee should be, And especially since I add chocolate. If I didn't add cocoa then I'd be adding sugar instead and that doesn't sit as nicely as cocoa for me. My morning mocha is delicious, it's priced at £2.05 so it ain't cheap, but I always have whipped cream and it does take them longer to make than a regular coffee. I think my mocha is rich and the cream adds a smooth texture to the drink. I would have 3 or 4 a day if I could afford it.
On occasion I also buy one of their San Pellegrino Orange drinks.. These are £1.30 to take away for a can of sparkling mineral water with 18% orange juice, again I think these are delicious. San Pellegrino is a premium brand of mineral water from Italy, hence the incredible price for 1 can of drink. But I find the taste to be fresh, clean and quenching, so I'll get one from time to time.
The store also stocks lots of different pastries which are baked each day in store, however, this is slightly misleading as the pastries were originally made in France and shipped over frozen, nonetheless the apricot croissant and pain au raisin I have tried were yummy (£1.50 & 1.30 respectively), although that's probably because they are from France.
They also have lots of slices of cake (many coffee inspired), panini's and sandwiches, none of which I've tried, there are better sandwiches out there I reckon, plus I'm quite fussy and they all seem to have tomatoes in! Gross.
So, I reccommend that you go to Nero's for good service, good coffee and posh orange drinks.
possibly the worse coffee chain in the UK. these cups of bitter liquid with a burnt after taste do NOT deserve to carry the honorable title "coffee". and how in the world did Nero come to see itself as an italian style cafe?? this is such an insult to italian coffee, and surely there is a law suit in there somewhere... the smallest most remote little coffee house in italy will be far superior to nero, who does not stop at bad coffee, and offers a host of equally bad cakes and pastries. literally, i had never had a good drink there, and i have tried... i have tried because it is the nearest coffee place to my work, and in cold rainy days (or on days when i desperately need the extra caffeine kick in order to get started) i keep falling to the trap and i try it once again. but, no surprises- nero is reliably bad.
After a hard day at work or if I'm feeling cooped up in the house I like nothing better then to escape and relax at Café Nero in Durham. I like to socialise there with friends or just go on my own and read a book.
As soon as I enter the cafe I get a warm welcome from the staff and they promptly deal with my order. My usual choice of drink is a regular Americano. They automatically give you two shots of espresso but it does state on the board if its too strong they will just give you one. I prefer the taste of just the one shot as I find two can taste a bit bitter, however if Im in need of a pick me up I will get the two. I have tried several different coffee shops in the area but none of them do a coffee that tastes as good as Nero's. They only serve fair trade coffee and all drinks you can get to take away. They also sell their dried coffee that can be used at home.
They do a variety of drinks hot and cold from herbal teas to lattes and milkshakes to organic fruit juices.
They also do a selection of hot and cold foods such as sandwiches, soups, panninis.
The only food I have eaten at Nero's are the cakes, my favourite being the chocolate cheesecake and the chocolate cake, however they are very high in fat and calories so I just have them for the odd treat.
Nero's offer Wi-Fi, however I have never used this.
The ambiance at the Durham branch is made very nice by its low lighting, background music and a nice temperature.
Durham had a vote for the coffee shop of the year award in the city and Nero's won the award.
The only problem with this branch is it is pretty small inside and because it's very popular it can get busy and have to wait for a seat. However you never feel under pressure to move on and have spent two hours just sat reading in there before.
Living in a small town that unfortunately isn't blessed with a wide choice of coffee shops, I tend to get my caffeine fix from Caffe Nero. We don't have a Starbucks and the Costa is out of town in our local Tesco so it's Caffe Nero every time for me.
~~~ The Good ~~~
My favourite thing about Caffe Nero is the loyalty card. You can pick up a card at the counter when you pay for your drinks and for each drink you buy (note that this only includes drinks made in the store so while iced drinks count, bottles of drink do not) you get a stamp on the card. Once you have ten stamps you get a free drink and you can choose whatever takes your fancy.
There is a stack of paper cups and a couple of jugs of iced tap water available where you pick up cutlery and sugar which I find especially useful as my 6 year old step-daughter only drinks water and can't even drink half a bottle of mineral water so this is a no-cost solution. Also, coffee always makes me thirsty so it is nice to have something thirst-quenching and free available.
The coffee itself is average. I prefer it to Starbucks but think Costa is nicer. However, Caffe Nero does have delicious hot chocolate if your craving is for chocolate rather than caffeine. There is a reasonably wide selection of sandwiches, paninis and wraps as well as fruit salad, pots of pasta and soup. For those in need of something sweet, there is a good selection of cakes.
Prices compare well to the other high street chains. For example, a large latte or cappuccino will cost you £2.25 if you drink in and sandwiches and paninis are competitively priced at the £3 to £4 mark. It is worth noting that Caffe Nero only offer two different sizes of coffee - regular and large. I think the regular is probably the equivalent of a 'Tall' at Starbucks and a 'Primo' at Costa.
~~~ The Bad ~~~
For some reason, best known to themselves and probably something to do with cost, Caffe Nero do not accept cards and you can only pay in cash. Even though I know this, it still catches me out from time to time and I have to forfeit my place in the queue while I go and locate a cash machine. Not everybody carries cash around with them all the time and if you are a large family eating lunch at Caffe Nero, you could easily need £30 which a lot of people may not keep in their wallets from day to day.
I find that service can be very slow if there are more than two people in front of you in the queue. Caffe Nero tend to have two people behind the bar, each taking orders and making drinks. This can sometimes get quite confusing as neither seems to know who is serving who. I think the Starbucks system where you order from one person and pay then go to the end of the bar while another member of staff makes your drink is much more efficient and less confusing (although there are sometimes problems when two people are waiting for the same drink).
~~~ The Ugly ~~~
I have found that the tables in our branch of Caffe Nero are not cleared as regularly as they could be. I frequently have to move cups from an empty table and ask a member of staff to wipe it, even though the cafe is not at all busy. This seems to depend upon which staff are working, some are better than others at clearing tables. However, something like this should be drilled into staff as it is quite off-putting to enter a relatively empty coffee shop and see row upon row of dirty tables.
My local Caffe Nero is starting to look quite shabby. I think it was opened four or so years ago and I'm not sure whether they have replaced the furnishings since then but they really need to spend some money now as the tables are scratched and stained and the seats are very worn. However, I have been in other branches where this is not such an issue.
~~~ Overall ~~~
Caffe Nero is a fine place to choose if you're after a coffee and a sandwich. I have no real preference between it and Starbucks, Costa or any other chain but tend to go to whichever is most convenient. I have, however, just discovered a lovely local cafe just down the road from Caffe Nero and they will be getting the majority of my custom from now on as they win hands down for service and the coffee is nicer too.
Go to any major high street in the UK and one is likely to see a cafe Nero. If I'm out with some friends and need a place to rest and sit down I often visit Cafe Nero. Compared to Starbucks I prefer the coffee at Nero, Starbucks coffee tastes of milk, at least Cafe Nero tastes like coffee.
Cafe Nero serves a range of different drinks, cakes and snacks. Overall the the price of drinks is not too expensive. On the other hand, the sandwiches and snacks are a bit over priced. For those feeling a bit hungry I would recommend a chain that caters more to food such as Prett yet even Prett has its flaws (See Prett review).
Cafe Nero has a point card system, buy 9 coffees and get one free. I don't go to Cafe Nero just for the coffee but also as a place to sit down, relax and chat with some friends when out. I order the cheapest possible drink on the menu, tea at £1.30, the equivalent of 1300 dooyoo miles. After visiting Cafe nero 9 times and ordering tea 9 times, I would have spent £11.70, the equivalent of 11,700 dooyoo miles. On the 10th visit I show my 9 credits and order the most expensive drink on the menu to make substantial savings. There's also free water, so you can pour some water into a cafe Nero cup to extend your stay.
Caffee Nero is amazing! I grab a drink/food from here weekly and have a very high opinion of the place!!
Nero's do a range of drinks, including smoothies, coffees, hot chocolates and fruity teas. The drinks are always a good size, none of these tiny one gulp cups in other cafes! The smoothies especialy are a great size and almost healthy! I've always had a great drink here, no complaints!!
Neros havealso started selling food, well snacks rather than meals. This includes paninis, muffins, sandwhiches, crisps and cake slices. The paninis are pretty average and serve their purpose. The cakes and muffins are amazing! a great compliment with a nice hot drink, my fav are the lemon and poppy muffins, sounds random but taste amazin-go on try one!
Neros do drink in as well as take away drinks, which taste good either way you choose to drink it! I think eat in price is a tiny bit more expensive, some random reason, only about5p though.
Not sure if all Nero's have this option, but the local ones to me, have the option of free wireless broadband whilst your in the shop. This is handy if your a uni student and need to work in a friendly environment, as well as buisness people!
Cafe nero is a great cafe, i go here often, its not the cheapest place in town but definitley worth the extra pennies for the outstanding quality!
Café Nero, Costa or Starbucks? The battle of the High Street coffee giants is being played out in pretty much any town you go to these days. Where one opens, the other almost certainly appears a few weeks later.
None serve the greatest coffee in the world, but have built their reputation on standardisation. Walk into any Café Nero anywhere in the country and you know what you will get. For most people, this takes the element of "danger" out of having a drink in a strange town.
AS with Costa, this works to Café Nero's benefit and detriment. It's reassuring to know exactly what you'll get, but can also be rather dull as you are served something carefully packaged to appeal to the "average" taste. They are also pushing out local coffee shops (which often produce better quality food and drink) who can't compete with the big multinationals. And that isn't a good thing.
Nero offers a reasonable range of coffees and teas that you would expect to find: cappuccino, Americano, speciality teas etc. Since they are catering for the mass market they don't tend to stock the more exotic coffees and teas available from specialist outlets, but if you're just after a basic cuppa, there's enough choice for most people.
Whenever I decide to go for a coffee in one of the chains, it's a difficult decision. Personally, I have a slight preference for the coffee in Café Nero, which tastes a little bitterer than others, and is more to my liking. I have to confess to only having tried out a small part of their range, since I don't drink tea and just enjoy bog standard black coffee, rather than any of the fancier items, so my experience of their drinks is a little limited.
However, I do find that it tends to stay hotter for longer than the ones served in Costa, and I think this is to do with the cups they serve them in. Coffee in Nero is served in longer, thinner cups, so the heat is more concentrated. You can sit there and leave your drink for 20 minutes or longer and when you come to take a sip, it's still hot. In Costa, the rounder cups mean the drink goes colder more quickly, particularly once you start drinking it.
The reason the decision is difficult comes if I also want something to eat, because the range of food is not as extensive. Nero produces both savoury and sweet snacks, but they don't have as much on offer. The savoury snacks (paninis and flatbreads) tend to be rather dull, safe flavours (e.g. cheese and onion) and rather bland in taste. If you fancy something sweet, the range of cakes they offer is not as great as Costa, and an awful lot are biscuit or pastry based (croissants, shortbread), so if you're not a fan of those, you're a bit stuck. The only thing I really like from Nero is the scones, and only then if it's early in the morning and they haven't been sitting around all day getting gradually harder and harder. In fairness, Nero have recently expanded their offerings, but there is still nothing that really tempts me.
Prices are as you would expect and are comparable with its other high street rivals. Nero is not particularly cheap. A cup of coffee costs just over £2, whilst a Panini will set you back at least £3. For the price, the quality is not that great and, if you know where to go, you can certainly get better value for money food from local coffee shops. This has become my mission recently: whenever I go somewhere new, I try to avoid the siren call of the chains and visit an independent shop instead. So far, it's led to some great little discoveries!
Nero does also offer a loyalty card, so if you visit regularly, you can get a free drink for every 10 that you buy. The prospect of something for free always appeals and is another area where Nero just edges it over Costa who have no such scheme.
I do find Nero tends to be noisier and the main reason for this is the music. They play an endless loop of orchestral music. Like the coffee, this is carefully selected to appeal to the average taste and comprises of familiar classic music together with orchestral versions of ballad type songs. All very soothing, you might think. Except for two things. If you go to Nero on a regular basis, you hear the same music again and again, as they only appear to have one tape. They also seem to have the music turned up loud (presumably so it can still be heard over the hubbub of the rest of the shop) and so it becomes annoying rather than soothing. One of the pleasures of coffee shops is sometimes to take a book and sit there with it, reading and relaxing. This is something I find much trickier to do in Nero - even holding a normal conversation can be difficult!
I don't know who designs Café Nero's outlets, but they always seem to be quite dark and dingy. This isn't helped by the fact that most of the furniture is dark brown and black, which further sucks out any natural light. The furniture is not particularly comfortable either. There are a usually a few bucket seats, but it's usually very difficult to get these unless you are in first thing in the morning. The rest is made up of wooden chairs (which become uncomfortable after a while) or a padded bench (with a hard wooden back of the bench which makes your back ache after a while). Maybe this is deliberate to try and make sure you don't hog a table for too long, but if that's the case Nero have rather missed the point of the coffee shop as a place to meet friends, chat, socialise or read.
Nero, though, does have one key advantage, which has seen me visiting it more regularly recently: it opens at 7am, whereas Costa doesn't open until 8am and independents until later. By default, then, if I need a caffeine fix to wake me up before work, this is where I end up.
Like most of the high street chains, Nero is OK, but nothing special. If you want to get a perfectly acceptable, unadventurous cup of coffee carefully blended to suit Mr or Mrs Average, you can go here in complete confidence. If you're after something often tastier and usually better value for money though, I'd recommend a local coffee shop over any of the big chains every time.
© Copyright SWSt 2009