‘Starbucks Coffee’ arrives into India !

Starbucks Coffee in India

‘The Seattle-based company spent at least a decade trying to figure out when and how it would enter the world’s seventh-largest coffee producing country before opening a two-level store decorated with locally sourced teak furniture in tony Horniman Circle in south Mumbai, the financial capital in India.’

Starbucks expects its Indian business operations to eventually rank among the top five markets in the world ! Quite promptly, I would second that statement. Being a South-Indian by origin, I can empathize with other Coffee drinkers about how much important coffee is in daily lives. I used to gulp down coffee several times a day in my younger years, but now I need it every morning without exception. And, I need it more while I am in ‘brainstorming’ business meetings !

Coffee market in India is estimated to be the size of $230 million and that is no small market by any standards. Kerala state, located in South India boasts of some of the largest coffee plantations in the Asian continent. A cup of Coffee at Starbucks will cost anywhere between Rs 95 and Rs 155 depending on the size while iced coffee and blended beverages will be in the range of Rs 115 to Rs 200 per cup. Well, these prices are much higher than what Cafe Coffee Day ( local competitor in India ) charges on its menu card. But, Starbucks is a Premium coffee ! With westernization creeping into daily lives in the metro cities of India, the take-away culture is making it easy to generate profits from quickly set up Coffee cafe chains. Cafe Coffee Day has several small outlets spread across its 1350 Coffee shops’ chain, that can accommodate only about 10 or 12 tables’ space and not much real estate investment is required to run these profitable businesses quite from the start. Yes, Cafe Coffee Day is a success story ready for management case study in business schools. Pick a quickie Coffee for the road !

But, that’s how all Fast-food chains or Coffee shops are in this part of the world ! It is quite unlike the way it is in the US, where consumers can spend long extended stay in the restaurant over a cup of coffee conducting business meetings or just sitting cozy with their loved ones. In Japan, 90 % of the business in Starbucks Coffee chain is due to take-away culture. And floor space is a major constraint in Japan as it is in the Indian Metro cities. Barista’s, McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s – all fall in the same category – more of ‘take-away’ business and home deliveries !! Quite simple, Live in Rome the way Romans do. In fact McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Domino’s have altered their menu card items of Pizza or Burger to suit the Indian palate or taste.

Starbucks will add some local touches on the menu too : Murgh tandoori Kabab, Konkan Twist, and something totally unheard of in most part of the world – a food preparation called – Elaichi Mawa Croissant to go along with a cup of Starbucks Coffee ! Really, Starbucks has arrived Starry-eyed in India !!

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