The American chain now faces a new challenge: conquering the Italian market, where espresso was born.
Starbucks was already present in practically the whole Europe. But the list lacked a country, with a long coffee history, so it has just opened the first store in Italy, located in the heart of Milan.
With this, the American world coffee giant is launching an ambitious project: to win the Italians in the country that is the fourth largest coffee consumer in the world, and the place where espresso was invented.
Once upon a time
It all started in 1971 when it opened the first Starbucks store in the Pike Place marketplace in Seattle (United States of America). A few years later, inspired and fascinated by Italian coffees, Howard Schultz, CEO of the company at the time, realized the potential of traditional Italian coffee if applied in the United States.
After 47 years, that Starbucks a brand present in about 50 countries with more than a dozen stores, comes a new challenge.
Coffee costs double. But there is wi-fi
Accustomed having a coffee in the morning, very quickly while standing at the counter, there is some skepticism that the Italians exchange this ritual for the American store, also known for the sofas and free access to a wi-fi network. Starting at the price that, in Starbucks coffee shops, is almost double. An espresso costs around two euros and Italians are accustomed to paying half the price.
Starbucks chief design officer Liz Muller reveals that the brand’s intention is not to teach coffee to Italians, who live in the country:
«Where coffee was born,» he adds. «What we want is to provide a premium experience, different from that to which Italians are accustomed,» he explains.
According to Reuters (free access), the owners of the traditional Italian establishments do not seem to be very concerned about the competition that the new American rival can bring.
As far as consumers are concerned, according to early reactions Bloomberg has found, Starbucks still needs to delight the natives of the country that invented espresso.
«The Americans do not know how to make coffee,» one of them said.
Are you an Italian living in Milan? Have you already visited Starbucks new store? And what about all the rest of you: what do you think about this move from the biggest coffee company in the world?