Starbucks' popular coffee brand wishes to stand against the specialized, handcrafted and expertly-brewed coffee of Italy's cafe culture -- whose time-honored preparations had spanned generations of classic espresso -- by opening 300 branches of the American coffee chain in the European coffee capital. According to experts -- and even Starbucks' CEO itself -- it must get its coffee right before it begins the implementation of its business plans in the country.
According to The Telegraph, Starbucks has yet to finalize a date for launching its 300 new branches in Italy this year. Acknowledging the "challenge" of opening a coffee chain in coffee's Italian home, Starbucks CEO Howard Shultz said that the chain needs to ensure that its branches would be designed with "painstaking detail" that indicates "great respect for the Italian people and coffee culture."
According to The Local, it was Antonio Percassi, an ex-football star, who broke the news to their travel website first. During his Milan press conference, Percassi confirmed "200-300 sales points" or Starbucks coffee shops across Italy. The Local said the first stores would open in Milan and Rome and cited Percassi's expectation that the first branch could open "in 2018" after the second quarter of the year.
According to The Telegraph, it is likely that Starbucks would appear as "reassuring, recognizable brands," but Italians are likely to head there "for free WiFi." The Starbucks branches are likely to benefit only foreign travelers due to brand recognition but it will not replace the local Italians' "counter stand where you can knock back your espresso."
The Telegraph notes that local cafes and Italian business owners are against the move of the American coffee chain going as far as to call the idea of Starbucks in their country as "disgusting" given that Italians are "too protective" of their coffee. Starbucks may likely have expected this from local businesses as indeed, Italy is the home of espresso and some of the world's best coffee.
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