After thunder comes... Starbucks. After 76 countries, it is Italy's turn

Michele Caprini
03 Aug 2018
Starbucks will open its first Italian coffeehouse on 6th September and will be the largest in Europe with an area of 2,400 square metres.

For at least two years now the opening of Starbucks in Milan has become a real topic of discussion. So, with 29 thousand sales points in seventy-six countries worldwide, it's now up to us.

If there were ever any doubts about the location, the former Post Office building in Piazza Cordusio, the "when and how" drifted between certainties, denials and speculations until the official announcement last May.

The official opening will take place on 6th September and it will be the largest in Europe, with an area of 2,400 square metres. A challenge enough to get pulses racing, considering the culture and the scale of coffee consumption in Italy.

For this reason, caution and modesty of its founder Howard Schultz have always been the characteristics of his approach to this new adventure. Schulz has repeatedly explained that the Starbucks idea has a very specific purpose and timing. It was during a trip to Milan in 1983, where

"My imagination was captured by Italian coffee, by romanticism, by the theatrical gesture of its preparation in the bars. Coffee at the bar is the third most important place in the daily life of Italians. This third place between home and work is what would later become Starbucks ".

Caution and modesty more than ever strengthened after the disappointing experience in Australia. The American company opened dozens of establishments there in the year 2000. Eight years later more than sixty had already closed, causing the dismissal of hundreds of employees and recording losses of more than 100 million dollars.

The Australian venture was the subject of endless analysis and discussion, but a clear reason for the failure was the lack of respect for the local consumer culture. Starbucks chose instead to indiscriminately adopt the classic concept, supported by major investments.

The rejection by local consumers was so significant that the brand was forced to diversify its strategy, aiming strongly at the tourist market.

The large venue in Milan will be a new feature in the world food & beverage scene. Reserve Roastery is the new brand chosen for Milan after the opening of the first outlet in Seattle in 2014, and the second in Shanghai at the end of 2017.

A special format with a striking design. The "frappuccino" will certainly be a feature of the coffeehouse, but its blend will be decisively more focused on the flavour of the different types of coffee grinds. Customers will be given the opportunity to "learn how we make coffee" by actually proposing its roasting on the spot. At the Roastery you will find more than 100 different beverages, including Teavana teas, and coffee-related merchandising.

Attention to the correct location of the initiative will also promote its partnership with the Milanese bakery Princi, which could even be the premise for a common international distribution of Italian bakery products.