“It is perhaps the most elegant, beautiful, dynamic store we’ve opened in our history” ~ Howard Schultz
This statement by the charismatic chairman and CEO of the iconic brand Starbucks Howard Shultz means a lot. On Fri last a grand partnership between Starbucks & the highly respected Tata group was launched in Mumbai India. The event lay to rest much of the speculation whether Starbucks will actually enter India a nation long associated with tea drinking.
Deep Mitra my friend who was there says that the large crowd was excited to take part in the historic inauguration. I am sharing a couple of pictures sent thoughtfully by Deep with you dear readers.
The big question is can Starbucks attract the Indian consumer enough to shift their loyalty from the Café Coffee Day (CCD) 1200 outlets and the Barista Lavaza 200 outlets which are well entrenched and strategically located. Will the price conscious consumer fall to the charms of the world’s most popular brand? Will Starbucks in due course become the market leader?
Choosing the right partner is the key to sustainable success in a strategic alliance and this partnership is just that. The tangibles are in place by leveraging Tata’s prime real estates, the coffee plantations and the synergies coming from the historic Taj Mahal hotel services. This first Starbucks big store is impressively housed in Tata’s historic Elphinstone Building and the next one will be in the Taj.
The intangible too are huge as both leaders Howard Shultz and Ratan Tata share an approach that is important not only for profitability but a common chemistry and common value system with a deep sense of humanity.
Though Starbucks leverages its global brand strength with standardized stores and menu it has made a bold change here in India by blending its global culture with the Indian culture. After all Starbucks is a 40 year old culture and the change will surely throw-up some serious challenges. Starbucks has done right to tune-in to the local culture by Indianizing some of its flavors in food offerings to give it a local twist – Mawa croissants — made with cardamom and milk solids — and delicious and nutritious tandoori paneer rolls.
Starbucks price positioning is at the high-end of India’s coffee cafes like Barista and CCD, with a 12 ounce cappuccino retailing for a little over $2.
Finally in an interview Howard Schultz states the “Tata tie up will help us to emerge as leader”. And Tata Global Beverages shares surged 7% to Rs 141 back of heavy volumes. Lets wish a grand success to Starbucks, Tata’s and to the consumer a great coffee experience.
An earlier post on Starbucks India entry at https://dilipnaidu.wordpress.com/2012/07/06/starbucks-enters-india-smell-the-coffee/