US coffee giant Starbucks is set to open up to 15 branches a year across Italy following the apparent success of its sprawling Milan Roastery, as it pushes ahead with an ambitious plan to conquer Italy.
The Seattle-based multinational has opened two new locations in Milan this week and says it plans to expand into other cities in northern and central Italy.
Following the Starbucks Roastery, which opened in Milan in September, the first regular Starbucks café opened on November 20 in Corso Garibaldi – and with 200 square metres and 28 staff they're obviously expecting to be busy.
A second new Starbucks was also opened on Via Durini, near the city’s cathedral.
Milan's Central Station and Malpensa Airport are next in line to get a branch, as it works to consolidate its presence across the city.
Italian coffee. Photo: Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP
“If everything goes well, the development plan includes about 10-15 openings a year,” Roberto Masi, managing director of Starbucks Coffee Italy, told financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore.
As well as opening in city centres, Masi said the company will focus on travel hubs such as airports and train stations, and shopping centres.
“It's a medium-term program, over five years,” Masi said. “We are prudent and humble. We know that Italy is a great challenge for Starbucks.”
“If we do well, and are able to combine a great international brand with an offer tailored to the habits and tastes of Italians, then the program could also accelerate.”
Starbucks, which is well-established elsewhere in Europe, delayed its entry into the Italian market which was originally planned for early 2017.
Outspoken former CEO Howard Schultz – who quit the chain in June amid talk that he could run for the White House in 2020 – has repeatedly said that the company would come to Italy with “humility”.
Masi says he's “convinced that our customers will not only be students and tourists.”
“Our goal is to bring Italians closer to Starbucks.”