Finally the dream of every American tourist in Italy is coming true.
"..thanks to regulations which mean you'll rarely be charged over €1 for an espresso or €1.40 for a cappuccino."
What regulations? Are there regulations on what [Italian] coffee shops can charge for coffee? I thought it was pure competition that keeps the price at about ~ 2 EUR or so. At any rate, Starbucks espresso is undrinkable - they don't even use a real machine to make it. No crema on top, just burnt. Wasteful throwaway cups. Wrong on so many levels.
Yuck! That is horrible crap! Why anyone would think burnt coffee beans make good coffee is beyond me! Smells like cat spray!
yeah we know every person that is going to respond here will think they have the most impeccable taste in coffee;
well it is about time; any word on dunkin donuts?
Interestingly enough, I don't usually like Starbucks at home because it tastes sort of burnt but their coffee in Paris didn't taste like that. The shop down the street from our hotel was full of Parisians every morning, and the one in Antwerp was busy with locals too.
Coals to Newcastle.
I remember the Great McDonald's controversy.
Yes, the price of a cup of espresso is regulated in Italy. If you walk up to the coffee bar and order your drink (sometimes you pay at the register first and give the receipt to the barista), the price cannot be more than the government imposed maximum. However, if you sit down at a table whether or not someone takes you order, the price can be whatever they want to charge you. I ended up paying €8 for a single espresso in Rome because I forgot that rule.
It is interesting that Starbucks does not taste as over roasted in Europe as it does here in the US. Some of their brewed coffee taste like it contains fish oil. The Starbucks I have had in Vienna was actually very good. But because of the price regulation, I really don't see Starbucks being all that financially successful in Italy.
Regulations and limits to the price of espresso and cappuccino are long gone. Many years ago the Government used to set limits, but it's no longer the case after price liberalization which took place years ago. Not sure about where the article got that.
The article below (dated February 2016) gives a panorama of the prices of espresso in the city centers in some famous locations of the principal Italian cities. Prices of course increase dramatically if you sit at the table (seduti al tavolo) in prime locations, but even standing "al banco" prices vary from 80 eurocents to over 2 euro in the most famous piazzas.
For sure Starbucks won't be able to sell the crap espresso they make no matter how cheap the sell it for, unless they hire people who know how to make it right. Maybe they can use this video.
Coals to Newcastle.
LOL! Hadn't heard that one.
I am a cheerful barbarian grateful for large take-away mochas I can walk about with, especially on bleary-eyed arrival day. I just as cheerfully order (gasp) cappuccinos in Italy after 12:00. Haven't had a barista faint dead away on me yet.
Thanks, Christi, that gave me a much needed laugh this morning. I've never been to Starbucks and certainly don't plan on going to one in Europe. Same for McDonalds (though I have been there in the US).
Hmmm, new news or old news? Almost one year ago today . . . http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35728428
Starbucks tried to get a foothold in Israel a few years ago. Israelis (who drink tons of mostly-not-very-good coffee) didn't like the SB coffee very much and didn't like the prices at all.
It's certainly not my dream! My dream goes something like this...wake up a little bleary from my stiff italian bed and pillow...waddle into my tiny shower and ready myself for the day as I listen to church bells and smell coffee brewing in the mocka pot. Then I head out for the day. Along the way I find myself standing at a bar sipping an espresso while I listen to italian voices and hear the clanking of cups and saucers. June can't come fast enough!
I have never entered a Starbucks in Canada and I sure wouldn't even think of it in Italy.
Well, there are people like my husband who likes plain old drip coffee with cream/milk and sugar. He doesn't do espresso or cappuccino or lattes - even asking for Americano style doesn't always net him what he wants - it's usually too strong or not sweet enough. He was never so happy as when we went to a McD's somewhere in Italy and he was able to get plain old coffee without any fancy foam.
He will usually try and scope out a Starbucks (have done it in Paris) or McD's (also in Paris and Italy) so he can get his basic, unfancy coffee. I don't do coffee - I think all coffee is gross, so I don't feel his pain...lol.
Jeanine, I am with you completely! I love getting out into the street really early (before my hotel or B&B starts breakfast service) and finding my first caffe of the day by listening for the clinking of silverware and ceramic cups!
Yes the entry was first announced last year, but the official one came this week with all the fanfare and the planting of palm trees in front of the Duomo, all sponsored by Starbucks. So now when you go to Milan you might think you are in Honolulu.
Just Google DUOMO MILANO PALME and you will see plenty of articles about the Starbucks invasion.
This is amazing.....
Now, when I'm in Milan, I can get up in the morning and have a cup of Starbucks coffee, then saunter over to McDonalds or Burger King for lunch and in the evening have Domino's Pizza for dinner. This would be a perfect day.........in hell.
What's next....The Olive Garden?
I'm not crazy about this idea either, and I live in Starbucks' hometown. That said, it's worth noting that what SB will be opening is not the conventional SB store that you're used to seeing. It's a "Roastery" which is a huge production. The Milan space will be over 25,000 square feet and likely to be the coffee version of Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory, if the Seattle Roastery is any indication:
Video of the Seattle Roastery here: https://youtu.be/pBatO5_-h08
Everyone likes to kick Starbucks. Shows how discriminating and sophisticated everyone is. Starbucks will be extremely successful in Milan for a couple of reasons. Lots of American tourists and along with the locals will pack Starbucks for its free wifi and restrooms. I have not yet seen a Starbucks in Europe that was not packed with lines at the restroom doors. Second, Starbucks will adjusted its coffee's profiles to met the local market. They cannot survive only serving unsophisticated American tourists. The locals will keep them in business. I am not a big fan of Starbucks locally preferring a couple of other coffee shops but our local Starbucks do use real espresso machines.
Nicole, loved your comments. Reminded me of the posting several years under France when someone strongly recommendation that if you wanted a decent cup of American coffee you should bring your own instant coffee with you. Otherwise what you can get in France was just awful. I think of that comment often when enjoying my coffee in a sidewalk cafe in Paris.
If people like it, let them have it.
The market will decide the fate of these enterprises. I'm for a laissez faire approach.
Years ago Haagen Dazs opened a couple of stores in Italy too, including Florence, with very disappointing performance. I'm not even sure they have any gelaterie anymore. McDonald's on the other hand, thrived.
I can see the Roastery concept working in Italy however. It would be a novelty for Italy too. I'm not sure about the traditional SB shops. I presume they will sell those strange concoctions like Frappuccino or Chai, since Italian bars don't have them. Also American tourists will patronize them for sure in those cities with lots of American tourists. But I'm not sure if Italians will go for 1/2 liter cappuccino with detergent soap like foam on top served on a paper cup. That, I haven't gotten used to.
Palm trees in the Piazza del Duomo in Milano? It just keeps getting better.
But..but..but... the Mickey D's in Milan served beer! Now I ask you, what's not to like about a cold pint with your McNuggets?
And the Mickey D's in Paris were probably the first models for the sleek McCafes; macarons (Yes! Macarons!) in the pastry case and not a clown in sight. Nice clean biffies, too...which were the main reason we landed into a few. And yes, coffee to go; nice at 6:00 A.M.
Want me to really make the coffee snobs gasp in shock? (Read with a sense of humour...)...my mother actually DID take small packs of instant coffee with her to Italy! She can't get going without her coffee. But she always does instant...we've bought her coffee makers to no avail...and she only uses her Keurig for hot chocolate and apple cider. She finds keurig coffee too strong! I guess she just likes coffee flavoured water. Well, she does drink Tim Hortons...
And we have eaten at Burger King in Milan, KFC in Paris and McDonald's in Rome and London and France...sometimes, you get tired of pizza and pasta and just want something fast and familiar.
If I can walk into a bar and get a perfect cafe Illy or Lavazza for €1.25 or, better yet, a cafe corretto for a couple of cents more, why would I EVER go to Starbucks.
Sorry to say, I am with Frank, Starbucks likely will do very well in Italy. Why? they offer a product people want, especially among the teenage to 30 market. Traditional coffee shops offer espresso and cappuccino, Starbucks offers exotic coffee favored drinks that you cannot get at a other places, much sweeter, creamier, all the good things people want. It will not be all "American Tourists" it will be locals, mostly younger. That is what I have seen at every Starbucks in Spain, Germany, and the UK.
Starbucks can open 10,000 stores in Italy if they wish, but it's not likely I'll ever set foot in one as I much prefer to use local places. I might go to Starbucks once or twice here a year at home, so not likely I'll patronize them in Italy.
Years ago in a café in Rome I remember being asked whether I wanted coffee, or American coffee.
I opted for coffee.
I did ask what they meant by 'American coffee'. Seemed at the time to be a synonym for very weak.
I think Paul had a point about the "teenage to 30 market." I'm guessing most of us are probably not the demographic the brand most appeals to. They may do very well with younger locals, and that's whom I've certainly seen in the shops in other European cities which have them. Free, fast wifi? That's a desirable benefit.
Just guessing but I'd bet money that they did a lot of research on local taste profiles and have adjusted the products accordingly. As said earlier, their coffee in Paris tasted different than what I've had here. I'm sure they also did careful research choosing placement of their outlets.
Living in Vienna, in a part of town without many American tourists, we have THREE Starbucks on our street. And they are all quite successful!
Like Italy, this city has a long-time coffee culture. Thus, I will not be surprised if SB is successful in Italy and not just with tourists. As mentioned, most of the customers in our SB are younger and on their laptop/mobile, taking advantage of the free WiFi. In a sign of the times, we also have two McDonalds on this street - again always packed - and we're not in the central tourist zone.
So here's probably a stupid question - I don't drink coffee at all - but always need my hot tea to start the day. I'm hoping that most coffee shops/restaurants will have that as an option? My husband is very excited about the coffee there.
Yes, you can get all kinds of teas at a regular bar. If you like cold tea, try the peach (pesca) flavor.
Debbie, most places I saw (hotels and cafes) do not have a Mr Coffee maker sitting there for the occasional tourist cup of cafe Americano. If you ask for one, they take an espresso, and add hot water to make a full cup. So no wonder that its not exactly great.
Yes, you can get all kinds of teas at a regular bar.
Debbie, just in case you hadn't picked up on that yet, many "bars" double as coffeeshops in Italy. They're not "bars" as we might think of them in the U.S as they provide java, gelato, bakery items, Italian sodas, sandwiches and other goodies along with alcohol. Families with children are welcome. Think of them more like cafes than bars?
We started each morning in Paris at Starbucks, its right across from the Odeon Metro stop because my husband likes only one kind of coffee drink and its at Starbucks, and it's his vacation too so if that is what he wants, not worth the fight. I plan pretty much everything (his request) so I think I survive his one request. The really cool thing about Paris Starbucks is they have a fresh orange juice maker, with the oranges on top feeding into the machine, never seen that in the US. We only got coffee there, got our breakfast at a bakery....we need coffee first thing in the morning, not food.
Thanks for the tea information! Zoe, the peach tea sounds lovely and I'll have to look for that!
Any chance there will be local opposition to the brand and location of this Starbucks, similar to what caused the first McDonald's in a prominent place in Venice to close within a few years of opening?
Well, they already burned the poor plants, so probably there will be more protests when it opens.
What happened to that old saying....when in Rome?
When I'm there I want to eat and drink authentic Italian. I love their Cafe con lece. It is so good and frothy. I didn't know about the price difference when ordering inside or sitting outside on a piazza. We paid 12 euros for a cup at Piazza Navona! But it was SO worth it!
Café con leche?
That's a Spanish/Latin American coffee - I don't believe there's anything authentically Italian about it. Holy cow - for 12 EUR? I would modify the statement..."when in Rome, drink - and pay - like a local". For no more than 2 EUR, you can get excellent coffee at the bar (although espresso is not as popular in the US as there).
Yes, cafe con leche is Spanish, you probably had a capuccino.
This will be successful with the <40 crowd for the same reason McDonalds is a hit with the college cohort: it provides a space for socialization that is not where their grandparents would go, it gives free WiFi, and it has decent bathrooms.
Digital natives place very little value on the kind of slow intergenerational socialization that happens on traditional cafes / tabacchai, smoking itself is going down, and the Italian cafes face the same perfect storm that decimated English and Welsh pubs from 20 years ago. Many only resist because their owners only know to work like that. And the median age of patrons is often very high (not in all cases of course).
I guess to chime back in, you cannot really equate Starbucks with the typical Italian coffee joint. It is like comparing the main street American diner with McDonald's. With the diner, you get local flavor, good or not, and a typically basic menu (Italian coffee places have espresso, cappuccino, and basic coffee drinks); Starbucks sells relatively few espresso's, even not that much brewed coffee, but many, many, coffee drinks, with an emphasis on the drink and flavors, not so much on the coffee, except that it is a central ingredient. Aside from that, they sell an experience, free wi-fi, and a 'cache" that is different from traditional places. In Europe, every place they have been, it has been a hit, especially with the younger and professional crowd.
If I were to be concerned about Starbuck's Italian business plan, it would be that their target market in Italy may be compromised by the high unemployment rate in the 20-30 market, but then they seem to be doing well in urban areas of Spain with similar markets.