“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 challenge

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?

Right partner

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.

India tuning

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.

Good wishes

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/

Cheers 🙂

About Dilip

An open mind! Love to share my thoughts and a keenness to learn. An engineer and a MBA I had a wonderful innings in the Army and later moved to consultancy and teaching. My current interests are music and growing culinary herbs. Love to play golf and do yoga regularly. I am serious on "Living life less seriously". A warm welcome to you be well and be cheerful always.

41 responses »

  1. Madhu says:

    I am not a fan of either….give me my filter ‘kapi’ anyday! But the son in law is part of the think tank at Cafe Coffee Day and thinks Starbucks will not hurt them. Didn’t expect anything else from the competition 😀 Will be interesting to see how it pans out.


    • Dilip says:

      🙂 ya I too am a filter coffee type … CCD ain’t afraid of Starbucks – is an authoritative input and I tend to agree .. perhaps they may play their games in different customer segments ..

      Many thanks & regards


  2. Need to try this, when it comes to Chennai eventually 🙂 I am very choosy about Tea/Coffee and I like only certain flavors. I tried many coffees in CCD and I seem to like only two of them. And I am not sure how they can make the tea better than Indian tea version! It will be very difficult to compete with Indian hotels on the taste and of course, the price!

    Destination Infinity


  3. drsuraiyanasim says:

    India is not much into coffee….atleast not in a big way still. I have lived in Delhi and CCD is the hangout place for most ppl including students. Starbucks will have to have nominal rates and something new to attract crowds otherwise it will only be the corporate bigwigs and the upper class visiting the place.


  4. gelaikuting says:

    Wew! I wish there will be Tata | Tazo tea here in the Philippines. I wonder what it taste like 😀


  5. suhas says:

    Better to decide our priorities now & [mmediately. Do we want the ELITE to prosper and enjoy life or do we want average Indian to prosper and be respected in all countries??

    We have taken too long.

    Standard of a school is decided on the performance of its average student and not the topper.


  6. VEDANT says:

    Dear Sir

    In your last blog on Starbucks.. we all discussed about the Tea (Chai) in their menu. But seriously, I never think that they will include the same… its very amazing..

    “Bharat ke rang me rang gya saara jaaha (especially American)”

    Hope they will maintain the American Culture for Quality Control.


    Vedant 😉


    • Dilip says:

      Yes Chai now is in the US Starbucks menu too 🙂
      wow ‘Bharat ke rang me rang gya saara jaaha’ – वाह वाह क्या बात है 🙂


  7. Biswadip says:

    Starbucks is selling a lifestyle and those already experienced their products firmly believe Starbucks is here to stay in India.needless to say CCD,Barista and Starbucks have their own USP and all are targeting different level of customers. Finally I didn’t feel Starbucks’s products are very expensive and for a change I won’t mind to visit Starbucks outlet.


  8. suhas says:

    I dont think I have had a starbucks yet. People may run to it as foreign stuff attracts many.But beware it should not turn out tobe another PL 480.This is my fair assesment as usual.
    Happy Dassera


    • dilipnaidu says:

      Ha ha Suhas so you bat for the “swadeshi mantra’ eh? History won’t repeat as Starbuck’s intent is to preserve and enhance its global image.

      BTW when Starbucks opens in Pune you will be my guest 🙂
      Cheers 🙂


  9. Well this may sound silly but I dont think I have had a starbucks ever.. I shud try it out here first .. although I have tasted costa and they are yummy .. and being in force makes it special as you get it free he he he he he


  10. Lisaman says:

    I don’t drink at Starbucks so lets hope in India they don’t all run to Starbucks and still support those that have been there before!!


    • dilipnaidu says:

      Welcome to my blog. Yes you do have a point and too much coffee is not too great for health 🙂 But there were huge crowds waiting for their coffee on the opening day.
      Cheers 🙂


  11. Binky says:

    I would have thought Starbucks was in India a long time ago. In Canada we have our own chain, Tim Hortons which is very successful. It’s a lower priced coffee/dougnut shop. Starbucks is successful here, too, but I would say not nearly as much as it is the US.


    • dilipnaidu says:

      They has been scouting around since last 2-3 years now. Starbucks will surely have to compete with the more affordable coffee chains present. It will be fun to see 🙂


  12. Starbucks in India? Now that’s a tall order!


  13. jakesprinter says:

    Great post for Sturbucks more people really love this place all over the world 🙂


  14. Hitesh Patel says:

    NIce post.

    Sir, I think Starbucks will create its own market in India, away from the likes of CCD and to some extent Barista and other standalone cafes. There is no way starbucks can compete with CCD in terms of outlets and pricing that is not the aim also.

    The selection of the location is also very symbolic. Upmarket business district of financial capital of India.


    • dilipnaidu says:

      Hi Hitesh you are spot on! My pleasure to read your response. Yes Starbucks has all the trappings to carve its own market and provide a great experience to the customers. All this is possible I feel beacause of the value system both the partners operate.

      Thanks & best regards 🙂


  15. lessandragr says:

    Congratulations! I’m a great Starbucks coffee lover – at home mostly. But about once every month or two, after his doctor appointments, my husband and I love to visit Starbucks (inside Target’s Department store) and have an iced coffee and a carmel Frappuccino for me, along with, usually, crumbcake for DH and vanille scones or banana nut bread for me. The Mawa croissants and tandoori paneer rolls sound delicious! Maybe they will start serving them here, too!


    • dilipnaidu says:

      Most of my friends in US too love Starbucks. How nice you and your husband have a date with Starbucks at Target store once a month. And yes smart mutinationals do transfer their learnings from one country to another so Mawa croissants and tandoori rolls may soon be seen at your end too 🙂
      Thanks for stopping and commenting.


  16. renu says:

    Starbucks may be popular because of its content..CCD is deteriorating, many of its outlets are dirty, not well kept and dont even serve what they advertise..
    whereas Starbucks may keep the quality intact.I love their Marble loaf cake, meditarranean sandwiches and coffee with icecream. and their ambiance.


    • dilipnaidu says:

      Oh yes all CCD outlets do not maintain their standards and some are not worth going to. And yes you are right CCD and Barista both have shut-down some shops. Nice to know you like some of the Strabucks offerings
      Thanks for stopping by.


  17. amira says:

    The brand-power works and something like Starbucks I think will be very popular with the younger generation – esp those who watch American TV


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