Last week, after a particularly long day, I bought a bag of Chips Ahoy! chocolate-chip cookies and had myself some cookies and milk. Nabisco is an American company, and chocolate-chip cookies are an American original, but eating them made me feel as if I were . . . back in Taiwan. That’s because one evening in Taipei, after a particularly long day, I needed some comfort food. So I grabbed a (very small) box of Chips Ahoy! cookies from the supermarket. It wasn’t that they were a staple of mine in the States. In fact, I don’t remember eating them before moving overseas. That’s why, now that I’m back in Missouri, Chips Ahoy! reminds me of Taiwan. Funny how the mind works.
Something else that reminds me of Taiwan is Starbucks. I’d never been inside one before moving to Taipei, but when we moved to Yong He (now part of New Taipei City), the cafe in our neighborhood became the default location for our weekly team meetings. So now, whenever I see a Starbucks, I think of some I’ve visited in Taiwan: the one underneath Taipei Main Station, the one with the huge second story in downtown Taipei, the one overlooking the harbor in Keelung, the one in the Xi Men Ding night market, and, of course, the one on the corner of an extremely busy intersection in Yong He, just a few blocks from our apartment.
I like Starbucks. I know their drinks are too expensive. And I don’t fit in with the true Starbucks aficionados. But it feels good to me. It feels international to me.
Since its humble origins in Seattle in 1971, Starbucks truly has become an international chain. The Starbuck’s company, which already has over 7,000 cafes outside the US, is making a move to beef up its international presence and plans to open 1,200 stores in the current fiscal year, which started this month. More than half of these openings will be outside the US, with about 500 in Asia. Over half of these 500 will be in China.
Wherever Starbucks opens a cafe, they alter their interiors and menus to fit the country. Take for instance in India, where the country’s first Starbucks just opened in Mumbai this month, serving Indian-grown coffee, murg tikka panini, and tandoori paneer rolls in a cafe that features furniture made from Indian teakwood. And then there’s Taiwan, where the Asian-inspired creations on the menu have given the world green-tea lattes and Frappuccinos.
Take a look at the following video to see how the company’s store designers work to connect each store to its community. Sounds like a cool job to have.
Click here to see a map from The Seattle Times showing Starbucks’ expansion around the world. Or go here for an interactive map from Loxcel that gives statistics for each country and store markers that show addresses and hours of operation. Load the Loxcel map on your smartphone and you can even search for stores that are currently open and click the phone icon to call them directly.
(Melissa Allison, “Starbucks Opens Its First Cafe in India,” The Seattle Times, Oct. 19, 2012; Melissa Allison, “Starbucks Maps Future of Venti-Sized Global Expansion,” The Seattle Times, Aug. 4, 2012)
[photo: “Starbucks Green Tea Cream,” by awee_19, used under a Creative Commons license]
6 thoughts on “Starbucks: Designing a Global Concept”
Starbucks actually makes me think of being in China, because there are SO many there, and I went there much more than I do in the US. Nice post!
They certainly have done a good job of creating an inviting atmosphere, especially when you’re looking for a break from busy city streets. Thanks.
Back in 2003, I remember being in Beijing when Starbucks released their “Red-bean Frappucinno” (not good to my American taste buds!) and noting how good of a concept it was, to enter the market there, Starbucks had to adapt to the culture. They do a fantastic job of this! I love all the Sakura flavored beverages in Starbucks Japan right now, and the way they add the orange flavorings during Mikan (Japanese orange) season.its always an interesting experience here!
Mmmmm. Red beans. The first time I visited Taiwan I had a red-bean sundae at McDonald’s – another company that tweaks its offerings for the culture at hand.
It was a great idea that starbucks designing their global concept of their product.Inorder for the other countries taste product without going to another country. I called it ” bringing STARBUCKS in to home.”
Thanks, Mark, for stopping by and adding to the discussion.