Can you believe that the home of Italian roast coffee and great espresso wasn't even in Italy? As it turns out, Starbucks coffee has over 22,000 stores in 67 countries, but not a single one of those stores is in Italy.
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However, next year that will all change, according to the Christian Science Monitor. In 2017, the first location will open in Milan, with more expected to pop up after that.
Now, breaking into the birthplace of espresso is going to be difficult for Starbucks, because even though we love what they have, others who are used to the homemade kind probably will turn their noses up. However, any coffee company that wants to serve Italian espresso in Italy has to be certified by the Italian Espresso National Institute, which puts a regulation on everything from the type of blends used to the equipment needed.
Once you have that certification however, it has been shown that you do get a lot of bang for your buck. That's why Starbucks has reached out to Percassi, an Italian brand management company, so that they can break into the Italian market:
"We know that we are going to face a unique challenge with the opening of the first Starbucks store in Italy, the country of coffee, and we are confident that Italian people are ready to live the Starbucks experience, as already occurs in many other markets,” Percassi president Antonio Percassi said in a press release Monday.
Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said that this has been a long term dream of his, and he was recently inspired on a trip to Italy:
“The dream of the company always has been to sometime complete the circle and open in Italy, but we haven’t been ready,” he said in a news release.
Starbucks’ stores in Italy will be designed taking the country’s coffee heritage into account, Schultz said, adding that Starbucks will enter Italy with “tremendous humility and great respect for the culture.” Starbucks and Percassi say they also intend to work together to support youth opportunities and employment projects throughout Italy.
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Starbucks has had mixed success breaking into other markets in Europe, so it will be interesting to see what happens from here.