On February 29, 2016, Starbucks Coffee Company officially announced its first store opening in Italy. The Seattle-based coffee company has partnered with Italian company, Percassi. Percassi has been confirmed as Starbucks’ licensee in Italy. The first store is set to open in Milan in early 2017.
This announcement is particularly special for Starbucks chairman and CEO Howard Schultz. Schultz was inspired to start a coffee company after visiting Milan and experiencing the Italian coffee experience.
“Starbucks history is directly linked to the way the Italians created and executed the perfect shot of espresso. Everything that we’ve done sits on the foundation of those wonderful experiences that many of us have had in Ital, and we’ve aspired to be a respectful steward of that legacy for 45 years,” said Schultz. “Now we’re going to try, with great humility and respect, to share what we’ve been doing and what we’ve learned through our first retail presence in Italy. Our first store will be designed with painstaking detail and great respect for the Italian people and coffee culture. And, my hope is that we will create a sense of pride for our partners — so much so that every partner who sees our store or walks through the doors will say: “we got it right.”
Starbucks is known for its highly customizable, complicated orders and Europeans are known for their love of simple coffee. A huge question remains, then, will this coffee venture be successful for Starbucks?
A few years ago, the flagship European store opened in Britain, and Starbucks has done well in Europe since.
Schultz recently said in an interview about the new Italian store, “the Europeans, in particular, are quite pleasantly surprised when they taste Starbucks for the first time because American coffee has had a bad reputation for so long.”