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Starbucks in Italy

Here's a link to an article that describes what Starbucks intends to do with (at least) there first store in MIlan. In short, they've partnered with an Italian bakery (Princi) to sell both food and coffee.

Posted by
1018 posts

Princi bakeries will be incorporated to all of Starbucks' future Roastery locations including the Shanghai Roastery, which is slated to open in December; the Milan Roastery, which will open in late 2018; and in the New York, Tokyo and Chicago Roasteries, which do not have official opening dates.

Posted by
3346 posts

Starbucks in Italy. Oh good grief. It will be interesting to see if Italians will stomach that swill, which IMO is vile compared to anything prepared in any Italian coffee bar. Or maybe they hope to survive on American tourists.

Posted by
1018 posts

Oh geez...Going to Italy to drink Starbuck's coffee...said no one ever. Yikes...

My family comes from the Lamezia Terme area of Calabria and they have a nearby shopping center complete with a McDonald's, which is popular. Recently a new McDonald's open nearby and you cannot get near the place on the weekends. Personally, we only enter a McDonald's in Italy to use the bathrooms. Alas...

I remember seeing a Burger King in 1980 in Frankfurt across from the main train station. Progress...I guess...

Buon viaggio,

Posted by
1775 posts

I sure folks said the same thing about McDonalds and other chains coming in.
Yet you will find them all over Italy and most everywhere else and guess what every time I pass one outside of the US they are very busy.
Fact is whether you or I like them or not there is a population base in every country that likes chains and I see a successful recognized brand like Starbucks doing well if they choose their locations and offerings wisely.

A decade or more ago mistakes were common trying to bring brands to foreign markets, those type of mistakes are rarely made anymore.

Why I might value a local shop, brand power/recognition is a real thing and Starbucks has it all over the world.

Posted by
4717 posts

Recently a new McDonald's open nearby and you cannot get near the place on the weekends.

Whilst most of would eschew a McDonalds when abroad in favour of the native food it's different for locals who grew up with it and eat it every day, for many a McDonalds or similar is a break from the norm.

I was in Strasbourg recently and we ate lunch at a traditional Alsacian restaurant, well all of us except for my youngest who was being particularly belligerent and refused to eat anything other than a McDonalds. Rather than waste €15 on something he wouldn't eat I capitulated and took him to McDonalds for a €2.50 burger instead. The place was absolutely heaving, predominantly with French and German speaking people, mostly young. Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed my coq au riesling with spatzle I suspect many of the customers in McDonalds were tired of such food. I have no doubt that they'll come back to it once they're older.

Posted by
6725 posts

Italians make the best coffee in the world, so I am surprised that Starbucks would get a toehold there. Now Paris, I understand since their coffee is often fairy awful.

Posted by
6016 posts

It has been mentioned before, but I will repeat.

Starbucks will do just great in Italy. They offer a product and service people want, and Italy is a market that offers maybe less competition, the only real concern is if the economy and financial capacity of the target market can support growth.

I think the most common mistake people make is thinking of Starbucks as a "coffee" place and equating it to the coffee bar found in Italy or the Cafe on the Piazza. It is neither, Starbucks markets a variety of drinks, most having coffee, but sells relatively little "American" style brewed coffee or plain espresso. Other coffee places in Italy do not sell the flavored drinks that Starbucks makes a great margin on; all with take out pastries, sandwiches; stay, sit or go, all at the same price; plus free wifi.

Stop at any Starbucks location in Europe and you will see it packed with locals, mostly younger, and lots of take out traffic.

Posted by
13691 posts

I think that's the key, Paul: they are't really in competition with conventional coffee bars/cafes as they offer a different experience/products with appeal to a younger market. IMHO, I think Milan is a good choice for dipping a toe in the water.

Posted by
21852 posts

I have always thought that the Starbucks discussion tends to get silly in a hurry. I think there is a group of folks who like to bash anything American showing up in Europe - Burger King, KFC, McDonalds, Starbucks, etc., Those businesses are all going to be locally owned, operated by locals, with the vast majority of their customers being locals so that the products are tailored to the locals tastes. Starbucks will have access to the same coffee beans as the local coffee shops and probably will use the same equipment as other coffee shops so the end result will be very similar to other Italian coffee shops. Somehow to suggest that Starbucks will produce a swill that is not acceptable to the locals is crazy. The local population will make or break the company. I, too, lament the homogeneity of the world's markets but it happens as we become more and more connected. Starbucks is not the end of the world. And, from time to time, I do find marginal espresso in local Italy coffee shops.

Posted by
13071 posts

I recently had a discussion with my Italian cousin about Starbucks. She's in her early 30s so barely a millennial, I guess.
She knows Starbucks from her frequent international travels, and she (and her contemporary friends) can't possibly digest espresso or cappuccino from that chain. It's simply a totally different concept. I'm older, and I'm definitely in agreement. I can't drink that stuff and the only way I can drink espresso at Starbucks is with whipped cream (caffe espresso con panna).

However my cousins and her friends all seem to like and appreciate the "Frappuccino", the "Caramel Macchiato" and the other concoctions that do not exist in Italy (I've never had those, so I don't know how they taste). Therefore, it is possible that Starbucks will be successful in Italy, at least with those novelty drinks that are not served in Italian coffee bars at all.

Traditional cappuccino and espresso at Starbucks does not meet Italian standards in its current form that I have experienced in both Italy and the UK, however it is also possible that once they open stores in Italy, Starbucks will prepare espresso and cappuccino according to Italian standards. I'm sure they'll hire esperienced baristas in Italy and good quality coffee mix can certainly be found in Italy. As such there is a good chance that Starbucks will be able to sell cappuccino and espresso to the Italians as well, because these chains certainly have the resources to attract experienced staff and adapt their products to the local tastes. McDonald's sells beer and wine in several countries around the world after all.

Posted by
2829 posts

This is somehow a pointless debate. The products mostly sold at Starbucks are different than the one typically served at run-of-the-mill cafes in Italy, even if they have a similar name. They are really different things, and appeal to different tastes. Likely, many people will patronize Starbucks while still drinking more traditional coffee served elsewhere.

It is almost as pointless as discussing whether thin-crust Italian pizza and the thick baked pastry sold as pizza on Pizza Hut were the same thing.

As for McDonalds and similar chains, they are often go-to places for younger teens, where they can sit, chat (loudly) and else while spending not that much money. Teenagers (who walk around unsupervised far more than in North America) are not the likely clientele of traditional cafes, which have an image of a place for older people, somewhere they go with their parents. So fast food chains are often overflowing with young costumers early evenings or on weekends.

Posted by
1888 posts

Just a small note: I was in Paris in February, and wentt o Versailles for the day: not to see the palace , but to see the town with its amazing market.
As I walked up to the market area, the only coffee bar I could see was McDonalds.
As it was cold and I wanted coffee, I went in, and had a fabulous café crème, made fresh: and an equally fabulous chocolate-almond croissant.
I never go to McDonalds or Starbucks at home, but was impressed with this European version!
The coffee machine was a wonder of gleaming stainless steel and knobs and levers and steam, and the only thing wrong was that the coffee was in a paper cup.
So it's not all bad.

Posted by
1888 posts

I don't think people are so much "coffee snobs", as just people who want to get value for their money!
The coffee in Starbucks is so horrible generally, that I (we?) feel it is a waste of money.
Our little town has four fabulous independent cafes that are really wonderful, so we go to those instead.
The reason I don't go to McDonalds at home is because we never eat fast deep-fried food for health reasons.

Posted by
261 posts

"The coffee in Starbucks is so horrible"

Clearly, millions of coffee lovers disagree with you.

"I don't think people are so much "coffee snobs", as just people who want to get value for their money!"

Food snobs and travel snobs insist on getting the best value for their money. I speak from experience. :-)

Posted by
367 posts

I also don’t usually go to McDonalds when I am abroad,but it is fun some times to see the local “adjustments” to the menu. In Japan it was Pizza with dried cuttlefish or creamed corn. It may not be as prevalent in Europe, but is in Asia.

When I was on my last RS tour one of the tour members collected the insulated travel mugs from Starbucks as a souvenir.

Posted by
3936 posts

Again, people griping about filter coffee - there are people like my husband who only like filter coffee - he doesn't want fancy coffee and asking for an Americano style has never worked for him.

We went to the Starbucks in Ghent - tons of people in there (lots of what looked like school kids!)...same with the few in Paris he went into, as well as one in London, Amsterdam, Rotterdam...always a reliable source for free wifi and bathrooms - and hot chocolate for me, since I don't do coffee drinks.

People like what they like.

I also picked up a Netherlands mug at Starbucks in Rotterdam - it's my fav mug now! Almost got one in Paris - would have if not for the NL mug.

Posted by
3936 posts

...and funny enough - the only time we tend to go to McD's (or Burger King) is when we are on holiday. Sometimes we need something in a hurry and we know what we are getting with McD's - usually hit one or two when we are in need of a quick meal...it fills you up and keeps you going....

Posted by
224 posts

My husband worked with a group of folks in the Czech government on some projects, we ended up in Prague that year and met them all for coffee. I was picturing a super cute local spot, they picked Starbucks. We still laugh about it because that was their favorite local spot!

Posted by
1337 posts

What is wrong with more choices? As previously mentioned Starbucks is not about the coffee. Someone also stated that McDonalds and Starbucks in Europe are different and that was my experience also. At both places in Paris you can get fresh squeezed orange juice, they have this machine that they feed the oranges on the top and dispense the juice and it is not a ridiculous price like in the US. My husband likes his Iced Vanilla latte and if we can sit outside, he can have his latte and me my drip and people watch in Paris, we are happy. I think I remember McDonalds also sells beer. It's actually fun to go into a familiar place and see the differences when you travel. Plus these places will usually have a public bathroom.

Posted by
261 posts

"Starbucks is not about the coffee."

Really? Isn't that like saying McDonald's and Burger King are not about hamburgers?

I think, perhaps, it's more accurate to say that Starbucks is not just about coffee.

Posted by
6016 posts

it's more accurate to say that Starbucks is not just about coffee.
Well, yes, but as a more accurate example. Coca Cola was asked about who was their greatest competitor, the expected answer was Pepsi, but the response was "Any liquid you pick up to drink" That includes water, coffee, juice, soda, anything...and now they own nearly any liquid you buy.

Posted by
7136 posts

Yes, how on earth can you say civilisation will end in 2018. Everybody knows it already ended last November.

Posted by
2526 posts

It's always very humorous to read threads like this one. May have to re-visit tonight...maybe add an alcohol influenced post.

Posted by
4592 posts

I've been known to stop into a McD's in Europe occasionally when I want something inexpensive and quick.

I favor the local coffee shops in Europe but also will stop at a Starbucks. We shared an outdoor table at the Starbucks in Vienna and met a fascinating woman (noticed her reading her RS book!) who was traveling in the opposite direction as our itinerary.

The Starbucks and McD's have always been about as busy as US stores.

Posted by
147 posts

I wonder if European tourists feel the same way about stores from the Pret a Manger chain popping up in US cities.

Posted by
8293 posts

Are Pret a Manger shops opening in America?

Posted by
147 posts

Norma, I pass two on my walk to work in DC. One is at 18th and L, just south of DuPont Circle. The other is a few blocks away by the 18th entrance to the Farragut West Metro station.

Posted by
11613 posts

I would LOVE Pret a Manger to open in Toledo (OH)!

Posted by
8995 posts

Pret a Manger has been operating in the Big Apple for over 15 years. There are 74 total in the US now.

Posted by
28107 posts

Bruce,

have a look at http://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb

Pret are a chain of upmarket sandwich, salad, and coffee places. Made fresh on site, good provenance, created by the same chap who opened ITSU.

Once upon a time, and for only a short time, partly owned by McDonalds. That didn't work.

The food is good, tasty, fresh and wholesome (mostly) although not all of it is low calorie/low fat. Veggie and vegan options. Very allergy aware.

Cheapest filter coffee in London (£0.99) and pretty good barista coffee.

They give all their unsold food at the end of the day to homeless.

Posted by
261 posts

"Pret a Manger has been operating in the Big Apple for over 15 years."

They opened their first NYC store in 2000. With a French name and natural ingredients, Prêt à Manger (Ready to Eat) is a British interpretation of a food and snacks on-the-go sandwich/salad shop. They're known for organic and healthy. They also claim to make "authentic French baguettes." I've never had one. Their menu is somewhat unique for a fast food, no-tables lunch joint, but I've never known anyone who craved the food or raved about the experience. At one time they sold packaged sushi, claiming it was fresh, but were found to be stretching the truth. I don't think they sell sushi in Manhattan stores anymore.

Their coffee is organic. I've never had it, and no coffee lover I know has ever mentioned the taste experience. The store ambiance is clean and simple, almost antiseptic, but nothing special. I never thought the concept would fly, but well-paid Millennials and the Whole Foods set seem to like it for lunch.

Posted by
28107 posts

Most Pret a Mangers in London, Birmingham and elsewhere in the UK have a few tables and dark purple plastic cutlery. Prices always a bit higher for hot food and eat-in because of Britain's arcane tax laws.

Posted by
28107 posts

Yoga Bunny drink - refreshing unidentifiable fruit flavour

Does it also have bunny in it? Do you have to do yoga when consuming it? Which pose?

Posted by
2526 posts

Until globalization fully envelopes my village with a Pret a Manger and similar, I’ll just have to “suffer” with locally owned and community minded businesses. Yes, there’s a McDonald’s and a Starbucks, but I continue to enjoy the Buffalo Cafe and Montana Coffee Traders. Just not sophisticated enough, I guess.

Posted by
28107 posts

oh good.... had me worried. Especially about having to be in a particular yoga pose to drink it.

Watership Down safe then, and Pooh's rabbit.....

whew!!

Posted by
2441 posts

One desperate morning in San Francisco, I did enjoy a peppermint mocha at a Starbucks before catching BART to the airport. One desperate morning in Segovia, I did buy a coffee at McDonald's, because the two coffee shops flanking the McDonald's weren't open yet. Nobody died.

Posted by
11440 posts

I don't know why everyone is making a big deal about Starbucks. Domino's has shops in Milan and you can get it delivered.

I normally don't frequent Starbucks in the U.S.--not a fan of their regular coffee--but I did recently stop in one in London. The coffee was pretty good. At least better than Costa.

Posted by
791 posts

I have always thought that Starbucks would do very well in places like Venice, Rome and Florence just because the amount of tourists there year round. It happens often that we have friends or family from the US visit us here and go crazy because they can't get a regular cup of brewed coffee anywhere.

We lived right on the Hauptstrasse in Heidelberg, Germany for a couple years which is one of the most heavily touristed places I've ever seen; there were two Starbucks locations on the Hauptstrasse alone and they were both always packed. You'd see people walking around holding the cups everywhere.

Posted by
330 posts

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a coffee snob...I've ordered mine from a roaster (Mclaughlin, Bay area) for over 15 years...and there are roasters just around the block from me.. Sbucks is about the last place I would ever chose to go for a coffee....but wait, didn't I become a regular at the one in Suzhuou and at the train station at Hongqiao? Hm..and how many times did I get a coffee at the airport in Chicago...often. Sometimes you need to embrace the suck.
They serve a market, the coffee is not total swill, they will hold their own in Europe attracting tourists, locals and anyone that is drawn to the brand.

Posted by
2753 posts

Was surprised to see that Zurich was full of Sbucks. Obviously catering to locals and visitors alike. Let's not forget how travelers back in the '50s and '60s stayed in Holiday Inns and Hiltons in Europe and only drank Coke (with ice!).

In Japan a few years ago I just couldn't abide another bowl of ramen or tempura on rice so yes, I would patronize Sbucks at lunch to get a bowl of green leafy stuff or a simple sandwich, and my nephew could get his caloric bomb overpriced milkshake coffee drink thingys. And Dennys-type places are very popular there for Western-style breakfasts.

It's all about choice, enter or not. Except when trapped in airports or railway stations.

Posted by
80 posts

I grew up in Seattle, waiting for my mom to buy coffee beans at the original Starbucks, sipping my hot chocolate while wondering why coffee smelled so good and tasted so bad, listening to members of the Seattle Symphony play out front for tips. Starbucks is local for some of us. I have had better coffee and worse coffee, but as someone mentioned, every successful business has found its niche. I have lots of coffee options in Portland, and I explore them often, but there is a Starbucks right by my work that has decent iced mochas, free wifi, and a great staff, and I can get there and back on my lunch break, so I am there pretty frequently. I could write an extensive list of things that I wish, wish, wish would come to the US, not all of them high brow, and I am sure people around the world feel the same about some of the stuff that we produce.

And by the way, I have had crappy coffee in Italy, lousy pastry in France, boring chocolate in Switzerland, and barely edible food at some point in every country I have travelled in. No American influence required.

Posted by
2526 posts

Any entrepreneur willing to open a quality döner kebap shop here...well, I'll be the first and frequent customer.