Starbucks wasn’t from the beginning the heart of the coffee culture that won Europe and America over. Today’s popular format was just a dream for Howard Schultz back then. After he became the Director of Marketing at Starbucks, he went on a buying trip to Milan, Italy in 1982. From his visit, he learned that a coffee shop could be the perfect place for social and cultural gatherings. He returned determined to show the rest of the world what a coffee bar truly means. More than three decades and 26,000 stores in 75 countries later, the CEO decided that it was finally time to make an Italian debut.
On Monday, Howard Schultz explained his decision to avoid the Italian debut for such a long time. It was not the lack of funds that hindered Starbucks to make this move, but the respect the CEO bears for this country. Italy has a special meaning for him, and Schultz felt that he must master the craft of coffee before taking this important step.
Howard Schultz has already announced on December 1, 2016, that he is stepping down as the CEO of Starbucks effective April 2017. However, he is going to continue to supervise the activity of the coffee chain as a chairman, while Kevin Johnson will take over the reins of the company. Moreover, he was excited to announce that he would have from then on more time to focus on innovation. Schultz will be the one that is going to oversee the opening of the Milan location in the year of 2018.
The Italian debut is expected to be one of a kind. Under Schultz’s supervision, the location will be a luxury Roastery, where customers will receive in-house roasted energizing beverages based on complex recipes. Schultz feels like, through this final project, he is going to complete a circle that was started 35 years ago.
The Milan location is part of a bigger wave of 30 high-end Roastery stores that are going to invade other markets around the world as well such as Tokyo, Shanghai, and New York. In Milan, Starbucks is partnering up with the Princi bakery that will supply the new location with delicious, local baked goods. While Schultz is going to preserve the Italian culture of espresso drinks, he wants also to attract customers with something innovative. This part will be covered by brewing techniques that are known to Starbucks only.
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