The Seattle-based coffee chain launched its Premium Reserve store format in India with an outlet in Mumbai, a move that demonstrates the growing appeal of specialty coffee and coffee culture in India.
Starbucks currently operates 300 stores in 36 cities in India | Photo credit: Starbucks
Starbucks marked a decade of operations in India by opening its first Reserve store in the country.
Tata Starbucks Private Limited, which operates the American coffee chain in India, said the launch demonstrates Starbucks’ long-term commitment to enhancing the coffee experience in one of its key global growth markets.
Starbucks’ Reserve stores serve the coffee chain’s premium line of coffees, including small-batch and single-origin beverages, as well as an elevated gourmet menu.
Sushant Dash, CEO of Tata Starbucks, said the Reserve outlet is focused on “customer experience and engagement”, as well as “the history of our coffee and the craftsmanship of our baristas”.
The new store is significant given Dash’s indication a year ago that Starbucks would focus on smaller-format stores and drive-thru to kick-start outlet growth in India.
Starbucks currently operates 300 stores in 36 cities in India. Tata Starbucks employs over 3,800 people nationwide, serving over 330,000 customers in India every week. This year, Tata Starbucks marked its biggest store expansion in a single year as it entered 14 new cities.
“For us, at least for the last two years and even during the pandemic, we have been quite aggressive and positive about the outlook. So last year we actually opened the most stores we’ve ever done in a year – we opened 50 odd stores. More importantly, today we went beyond the subways. It gave us confidence that there is a demand for the Starbucks experience, even outside of the subways,” Dash said.
Starbucks opened its first store in India at the Elphinstone Building, Horniman Circle, Mumbai in October 2012. The American chain is now closing in on Coffee Day’s previous market dominance.
National chain Café Coffee Day operated 495 stores in India at the end of its fourth quarter in March 2022.
Meanwhile, several international brands have targeted the growing demand for premium coffee among Indian consumers this year. UK-based Costa Coffee reached 69 outlets in India earlier this year, while fellow British coffee chain Pret A Manger plans to open 100 stores in India by 2028.
Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons also has an ambitious goal of opening more than 250 stores in the country over the same period. The company opened its first two stores in New Delhi in August 2022.