That’s right – Starbucks is opening its first outlet in Milan, Italy.
I have some questions about this, and I admit that I am NOT a fan of Starbucks. I don’t like their coffee, and their offerings are overpriced. I have visited Washington State, the home of Starbucks, and I can say definitively that there are much better coffee purveyors in Washington. In fact, it is difficult to get a bad cup of coffee in Washington State.
I have never visited Italy, but I did work with a company based in Bologna, Italy for decades, and know many people who were born and raised in that lovely country. They are VERY serious about their coffee and, from what I have been told, have many more excellent coffee purveyors than they do in Washington State. Many of my friends would venture into Canada to buy their preferred espresso blend coffee, and it was brewed and served in my office.
Soooooo – the big question is, why does Starbucks think they can attract enough regular customers in Milan to make a profit? Do they believe that tourist business will be enough, or do they intend to offer a better grade and selection of coffee products that will attract Milanese citizens? After all, Italy already has some very fine coffee chains as well as independent coffee shops.
According to BBC:
The company’s Milan “roastery” goes far beyond the usual latte production line.
The marble-floored store will offer a “theatre of coffee roasting, brewing and mixology”, as well as cocktails, pizza, bread and ice cream.
Local businesses said they were “not afraid” of the competition, and emphasised that high-quality coffee was already widely available in the region.
The Federazione Italiana Pubblici Esercizi (FIPE), which represents the country’s bars and restaurants, said Italy’s 149,154 coffee outlets offered good value, charging an average of one euro for an espresso, and €1.30 (£1.17) for a cappuccino.
Starbucks said its Milan store was intended as a “homage” to Italy’s coffee traditions…
Italians can be somewhat “snobbish” about coffee according to psychologist Paolo Vergnani, who drinks 10 espressos per day.
Pizza too? Oh my.