Monday, 11 December, 2017

World's largest Starbucks store to open in China

At the Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai small-lot coffees are loaded for roasting in front of a two-story 40-ton copper cask on which traditional Chinese chops or stamps are displayed to tell the story of Starbucks and its Reserve coffee. (Courtesy of S Starbucks Is Opening Its Largest Starbucks Ever – And You Have to See Inside
Lillian Steele | 06 December, 2017, 01:03

The 30,000 square foot store in Shanghai is equal to about half a soccer pitch in size and is part of upscale moves that chairman Howard Schultz has championed. Shanghai location is Starbucks' biggest store to date, and also its most advanced digitally.

As Silvia Antonioli reports, the opulent flagship store with gourmet coffees and a bakery and will be open to the public on Wednesday - one of the 10,000 outlets that Starbucks is planning to operate in China within a decade.

The AR experience is powered by Alibaba Group's scene-recognition technology and users can access digital experiences, such as viewing menus, ordering special coffee blends and booking customised experiences via a dedicated Roastery app or through Alibaba's Taobao app.

Patrons at the huge new coffeehouse located on the well-known shopping strip West Nanjing Road can watch coffee beans being roasted, use an augmented reality app from Starbucks to interact inside the store and sample high-end coffees.

Starbucks is going venti in China. Revenue from the Asia-Pacific region accounted for nearly 15 percent of Starbucks' revenue for the fiscal year ended in October.

A “Steampunk” device uses steam to extract the best flavor from tea at the Starbucks Roastery in Shanghai

Even though Chinese are traditionally tea guzzlers and less hooked on coffee than Americans, the country's growing ranks of upwardly mobile consumers still view Starbucks as an attractive, aspirational brand.

In a sign of the times, Starbucks partnered with Chinese tech giant Alibaba to aggressively promote the Shanghai store opening online. Princi is the exclusive food offering in all Starbucks Roastery locations, including Seattle, Shanghai and upcoming locations.

But the store won't retain its title for long. The location has gourmet drinks - like nitrogen-infused teas - and an 88-foot-long, hand-crafted coffee bar.

Same-store sales at U.S. cafes were up 2% for the quarter ended 1 October, while sales in China were up 8%.

Starbucks expanded its investment in China in July, when it announced plans to buy out the partners in its East China joint venture. That was up from just 5.5% five years ago.

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