Forget yoga — India now has a whole new way to keep its energy up. Yes, Starbucks has just opened its first store in the market.
While the drinks list at the world’s newest Starbucks will look pretty familiar to anybody who has ordered a grande skim latte elsewhere on the planet, the food features no beef or pork and a lot of old faves with local twists, such as a chicken tikka panini sandwich, a croissant with cardamom and the milk-based sweet mawa, according to the Wall Street Journal. In a sign of respect for its vegetarian customers, the non-veg food items will be sold at another counter and prepared in a completely different oven.
The world’s largest coffee chain is expanding into the world’s second-most populated country with the help of India's venerable Tata Group just as revenues in America are slowing, and the number of India’s consumers of coffee is nearly twice what it was a decade ago.
Starbucks' India flagship store is located at the historic Elphinstone Building, Horniman Circle, Mumbai "and marks the beginning of the iconic brand’s India journey. In addition to the flagship store at Horniman Circle, Tata Starbucks Limited will launch two more stores in the next week at Oberoi Mall and the Taj Mahal Palace Annexe in Mumbai," according to a press release.
“We are proud to enter the India market with Tata Global Beverages, a global company that shares many of the same values that Starbucks was founded on more than 40 years ago,” stated Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and CEO. “Our first flagship store in Mumbai is an amazing celebration of great coffee, rich Indian heritage and community. Together, our two companies are bringing an unparalleled experience to India customers. We are investing for the long-term and see great potential for accelerated growth in India.”
"We determined early on that this was a very complex marketplace, and we needed to find a partner," Schultz told CNN.
Avani Saglani Davda, CEO, Tata Starbucks Limited, stated, “We are honored to open our doors to customers today and look forward to sharing our passion for high-quality, locally sourced and roasted espresso, as well as the uplifting moments of connection Starbucks baristas are known for around the globe. Tata Starbucks Limited is committed to investing in the communities where it does business and creating a great work environment for its people.”
“It’s a great time for Starbucks to come in because some of the base is already here, in terms of cafes, in terms of people using them as socializing hotspots,” said Saloni Nangia, president at Indian consultancy Technopak Advisors Pvt., Bloomberg reports. “The average Indian consumer, or the current cafe consumer, is happy to upgrade to a Starbucks environment.”
Starbucks could open as many as 50 stores in Mumbai and New Delhi in the first year. “We are looking at this venture from a long-term point of view,” John Culver, president of Starbucks’s Asia-Pacific business, told reporters last month. “We will open a series of stores and monitor consumer response and focus on the experience we provide.”
And this isn’t the only international Starbucks is planning to expand. Schultz said that while India and China — which is becoming a battleground for premium coffee brands — will be the largest growth markets for Starbucks, it is also planning to open 200 stores annually in America over the next five years (of all sizes) and double the number of outlets it has in Mexico, WSJ reports.
While India is famed for tea drinking, the arrival of Starbucks in India presents a serious challenger for the country's biggest coffee chain, Café Coffee Day. According to Business Standard, CCD is saying that there is enough room in the massive market for everybody, but the staff there “is feverishly putting together a comprehensive plan to stem the churn from their cafes.”
More details on Starbucks first India store, which reflects the brand's commitment to community and corporate citizenship, and localization in design and menu:
In addition to the exceptional "third place experience" Starbucks is known for globally, the two companies are proud to offer Indian Espresso Roast, sourced locally through the coffee sourcing and roasting agreement with Tata Coffee. The Indian Espresso Roast will be a hallmark feature of all Starbucks stores in the market and highlights the quality espresso available in India. As part of the agreement, Starbucks and Tata Coffee Limited will work toward developing and improving the profile of Indian-grown arabica coffees around the world by elevating the stature of Indian coffee, as well as improving the quality of coffee through sustainable practices and advanced agronomy solutions.
Strategically located, the store is designed to reflect Starbucks coffee heritage and embrace the local culture, with the artifacts, Indian teakwood furniture, floor design and interiors created by local craftsmen and artists.
The extensive product portfolio includes Starbucks signature espresso-based beverages, as well as Starbucks VIA Ready Brew and Starbucks Reserves. The store will also offer Tata Tazo and Himalayan mineral water, and its broad food offering boasts a wide selection of 42 items; Western favorites, as well as locally relevant flavors reflected in such items as the Elaichi Mawa Croissant, Murg Tikka Panini, Tandoori Paneer Roll, and the signature Star Club.
Deepening its commitment to community, Tata Starbucks Limited will work to improve the lives of coffee growing communities in the State of Karnataka. The joint venture, through an initial financial commitment, will work to support 'Swastha,' a school for children with special needs (in partnership with the Coorg Foundation). Additionally, Tata Starbucks Limited will work on initiatives including the promotion of responsible agronomy practices and training of local farmers, technicians and agronomists to improve their coffee-growing and milling skills.
Along with exploring social projects which could positively impact the communities in the coffee growing regions where Tata Global Beverages is active, the joint venture is committed to supporting the local community near the store. Toward this, Tata Starbucks Limited is proud to be developing a cultural hub in Horniman Circle, where local artists can come together. The first step in the development of this cultural center was the community service project to clean up the area and prepare it for future development, which took place with Starbucks partners earlier this month.