Coffee shop bosses are optimistic that cautious customers will soon be returning for their regular caffeine fix again.

Despite tough trading during the last six months, executives expect conditions to begin improving in the next few months, although they don’t anticipate full recovery until at least the middle of next year.

Allegra Strategies’ UK Coffee Leader Survey of 100 top executives in the coffee shop industry shows that the number who report the impact of the recession has been "neutral or positive" outweighs those who say it has been "difficult or very difficult". More executives think the economic situation will improve in the next three to six months than those who think it will take longer.

While 2008 marked a record year for the branded UK coffee chain market, with 15% growth in turnover, growth has slowed down this year. "There is evidence that consumers are visiting a little less and spending a little less because of the current recession, but our research found that 80% of customers are continuing to visit just as much," said a spokesman. "A cup of coffee is a little treat that many consumers are not prepared to do away with."

Allegra Strategies will reveal the full results of its survey at the UK Coffee Leader Summit on 19 May in London where speakers will include Starbucks UK and Ireland MD Darcy Wilson-Rymer.