World's biggest Starbucks lands in Shanghai

Yiyao Zheng Sino.uk Published: 2017-12-07 10:44:30
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The Seattle-based coffee company Starbucks opened a 30,000-square-foot store to public in Shanghai on Wednesday.

The world’s biggest Starbucks shop opens in China on December 6, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

The world’s biggest Starbucks shop opens in China on December 6, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

It's the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery -- the company's new retail offering -- outside the U.S.

It's also the largest Starbucks in the world, nearly twice as large as the Roastery in Seattle that opened three years ago. The new store will roast beans on site in a massive copper cask.

Executive Chairman Howard Schultz said the store would blend the company's 46-year history in the coffee shop business with "China's rich, diverse culture.”

China is a vital market for Starbucks, according to John Gordon, a restaurant analyst at Pacific Management Consulting. The company's latest quarterly earnings were pretty gloomy, showing disappointing sales growth in a tough retail environment. The one bright spot was China, which stood out as Starbucks' fastest growing market. Sales there were up 8% compared with the same quarter last year.

The world’s biggest Starbucks shop opens in China on December 6, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

The world’s biggest Starbucks shop opens in China on December 6, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

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

On the second floor of the new shop, customers can taste different kinds of beer, wine and coffee cocktails. In addition, there is also a special emphasis on tea, with a dedicated bar offering 20 different kind of tea like nitrogen cold brew tea. What is more, customers not only can try chocolate or dessert but also can taste different kinds of fresh pastry and pizza from brand Rocco Princi.

The world’s biggest Starbucks shop opens in China on December 6, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

The world’s biggest Starbucks shop opens in China on December 6, 2017. [Photo: VCG]

Starbucks Roastery partnered with Chinese tech giant Alibaba to promote the Shanghai store opening online. Customers can book coffee tasting experiences on Alibaba's e-commerce site as well as buy special Starbucks Reserve coffee and related products tied to the store's launch.

But the Shanghai Roastery won't hold the title of largest Starbucks for too long. The company has already inked a deal for an enormous 43,000-square-foot Reserve Roastery in Chicago that's set to open in 2019.

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