Starbucks launches first Cafe in India
Starbucks, the world’s biggest coffee chain, launched its first
Indian outlet Friday in an upscale part of Mumbai, becoming the latest
global firm to tap the urban youth’s growing taste for caffeine.
The Seattle-based firm has finally entered the vast Indian market in
a joint venture with the country’s giant Tata conglomerate -- with menus
especially adapted to appeal to local tastes in a country better known
for its tea.
Speaking at the launch, the company’s chairman and chief executive
Howard Schultz described India as “one of the largest markets in the
world for Starbucks” and pledged that prices would be competitive. “The
competition here is ferocious. We’re coming here priced to succeed, to
make it as accessible as possible,” Schultz told reporters at the new
two-storey cafe in south Mumbai’s Horniman Circle, also home to a luxury
Like other Western chains that have come to India, such as Pizza Hut,
Starbucks is offering “Indianised” versions of its staple hot drinks and
baked goods to appeal to local palates.
Items on the menu include a murg tikka panini, cardamom-flavoured
elaichi mawa croissants and Himalayan mineral water. The usual Starbucks
varieties of coffee are available but some of the beans have been
sourced from Tata estates in India.
The price of a medium-sized cappucino is 115 rupees ($2.15) while a
caffe americano costs 110 rupees.
“We’re trying to be respectful of Indian culture,” said Schultz.
“I say with humility we must earn the respect of the Indian customer.
We’re not coming here taking anything for granted but certainly we
intend to succeed here.” India has traditionally been more of a
tea-drinking nation, but the coffee bean’s stature is shooting up among
young and urban professional classes, who seem drawn as much to
Western-style cafes as they are to the drink itself. Starbucks will
compete for their rising disposable incomes with Indian-owned Cafe
Coffee Day, which dominates the market, and well-established foreign
chains such as Britain’s Costa Coffee and US Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
But the new entrant is likely to be successful, in part thanks to
being a very well-known brand globally, said Pratichee Kapoor, associate
vice president in food services and agriculture at Indian consultancy
“Starbucks provide a very good space between a cafe and a five-star
hotel, if I don’t want to spend as much as at a five-star hotel,” Kapoor