The Seattle-based coffee chain has debuted its premium Reserve store format in India with an outlet in Mumbai, a move that demonstrates the growing appeal of specialty coffee and café culture in India
Starbucks currently operates 300 stores across 36 cities in India | Photo credit: Starbucks
Starbucks has marked a decade of operations in India by opening its first Reserve store in the country.
Tata Starbucks Private Limited, which operates the US coffee chain in India, said the launch was testament to Starbucks’ long-term commitment to elevate the coffee experience in one of its key global growth markets.
Starbucks’ Reserve stores serve the coffee chain’s premium coffee range, including small batch and single origin beverages alongside an elevated food menu.
Sushant Dash, CEO of Tata Starbucks, said the Reserve outlet is focused on ‘customer experience and engagement’, as well as the ‘story of our coffee and the craft of our baristas’.
The new store is significant given Dash’s indication a year ago that Starbucks would focus on smaller format stores and drive-thru to kick-start outlet growth in India.
Starbucks currently operates 300 stores across 36 cities in India. Tata Starbucks employs over 3,800 staff in the country, serving more than 330,000 customers in India every week. This year, Tata Starbucks marked its largest store expansion in a single year with its entry into 14 new cities.
“For us, at least the last couple of years and even during the pandemic we have been quite aggressive and positive about the outlook. So last year, we actually opened the highest number of stores that we have ever done in one year—we opened 50 odd stores. More importantly, today, we have moved beyond just the metros. This has given us the confidence that there is demand for the Starbucks experience, even outside of the metros," said Dash.
Starbucks opened its first store in India in the Elphinstone Building, Horniman Circle, Mumbai, in October 2012. The US chain is now closing in on Café Coffee Day’s previous market dominance.
Domestic chain Café Coffee Day operated 495 stores in India as of the close of its fourth quarter in March 2022.
Meanwhile several international brands have targeted increasing demand for premium coffee amongst Indian consumers this year. UK-based Costa Coffee reached 69 outlets in India earlier this year, while fellow UK coffee chain Pret A Manger is planning to open 100 stores in India by 2028.
Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons also has an ambitious target to open more than 250 stores in the country over the same period. The company opened its first two stores in New Delhi in August 2022.