January 15, 2011

Starbucks latte on Moon & Mars, not India!

If somebody asks you to go out for a cup of coffee then which 2-3 names come to your mind first? BaristaCafe Coffee Day, or perhaps Leopold Cafe down south? Well, ask this to anyone here in Mumbai and chances are 90% will say one of these three names, especially of the former two who have significantly expanded their market presence in the last 3 years ever since there were speculations of a global coffee giant wanting to enter India.
This had a direct implication on me and my friends as students in a B-school during the same time (2007) as the news threw up n number of case studies enriching us with the length and breadth know-how of Starbucks Coffee including the interesting series of its logo changes. Eventually it never entered India at that time. On the other hand, the well known coffee outlet Barista has more than 200 outlets while Cafe Coffee Day claims to have a little more than a thousand - quiet impressive! Leopold on the other hand is a standalone outlet but a favorite amongst many and people's interest grew even further after the 26/11 incident. They still have retained the bullet hole in their glass wall for tourists to see and click! (BTW, I found Leopold's website pretty impressive, click here to see).

Once again last week on January 13, the announcement of Starbucks Coffee coming to India with Tata Coffee spread like a fire on all forms of media. It even trended on Twitter on the day of its announcement. I follow The Wall Street Journal on twitter @WSJ for their interesting coverage of stories and they too like others tweeted, see below:

Upon seeing and checking out the link, I retweeted to share with my followers prefixing a little excitement line 'And here it comes!' like any other Indian guy. It was all fine till here and then suddenly one of my Twitter friend @bellegram - Paula Joy from Seattle, the hometown of Starbucks Coffee tweeting back and it turned out to be a rather funny conversation as you can see below once again:

That particular moment, I for switched shoes and thought from a Seattle resident's point of view. What Paula mentioned is so true! It's 2011 now, almost 20 years since liberalization in India. Pepsi came, Coca Cola came, McDonald's came, KFC came, Levis came, almost every major in every segment came then where on Earth was Starbucks till all this time? Why didn't it come to India earlier was the questions for which I had no answer. Paula further added humorously that she thought its a global law to have Starbucks in any country and the extra hot latter is already available on Moon & Mars, then why not in India?? I leave the questions for Howard Schultz (Chairman, Starbucks Coffee) to answer for me.Whatever the reasons, this did make an interesting conversation and I hope that this time they do come here.

We've read, heard, seen enough about Starbucks now, it's time we should have some luck, we should have Starbucks! I leave you with a very good video that I saw on Starbuck Coffee's website, click here to see. Plus, I want to thank Paula, an avid SRK fan for stimulating my neurons to write this post. Till then, cheers.


  1. Nice article to read with my morning cuppa joe. You are tres bien at intellectual pondering over the giga-brainbytes inhabiting this invisible realm of twittering psyches. May your coffee never get cold!

  2. Outstanding post on Starbucks Arif.
    Here in Brazil, Rio de Janeiro at least, Starbucks came about two years ago. Not much noise and all, but it's growing and growing.

    From what I seen of Howard Schultz strategy on Starbucks, it has a lot of items on its portifólio and could get into any country easely. Because if you don't like coffe ther is tea, if you don't like coffee and tea, there is water for you and also some cookies, music and a nice space to site and navigate with your smart-phone or notebook, or what ever you got.

    They do a great job on delivering much more than coffe. It is realy a powerfull brand, with a very nice and clear way to do things.

    Gabriel Casals

  3. @Paula Thanks for the electrifying words. I'm charged! I like Twitter for the very basic reason that besides the regular conversations, sometimes you are reminded of the events happening around you. The conversation with you was interesting enough for me to share with everyone. I must thank you for making me think, from your perspective!

  4. @Gabriel I'm glad you liked the post. Starbucks tried to enter India in 2007 but somehow didn't go ahead. This time they're back once again with an Indian partner - Tata Coffee.

    Like you mentioned the key will be to understand the market well and subsequently come out with customized offerings. I'm sure Tata Coffee with their local expertise will assist Starbucks in keeping their foot firm in India.

  5. Decent article to peruse with my morning cuppa joe. You are tres bien at intelligent contemplating over the giga-brainbytes possessing this undetectable domain of twittering minds. Might your espresso never get icy
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