| Kuwait

Starbucks MENA franchisee Alshaya Group reportedly to cut 2,000 jobs

Kuwait-based Alshaya Group said the move is in response to ‘challenging trading conditions’ predominantly impacting MENA Starbucks stores in the wake of the Israel-Gaza conflict

A Starbucks store in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia | Photo credit: Alshaya Group


Starbucks franchisee Alshaya Group is reportedly planning to cut more than 2,000 jobs in the wake of ongoing customer boycotts of its coffee shops in the MENA region. 

The Kuwait-based firm will cut approximately 4% of its total 50,000 workforce with most job losses impacting its 2,000-store Starbucks business, according to Reuters

“As a result of the continually challenging trading conditions over the last six months, we have taken the sad and very difficult decision to reduce the number of colleagues in our Starbucks MENA stores,” Alshaya Group said in a statement.  

In January 2024, Seattle-based Starbucks highlighted heightened tensions in the Middle East arising from the Israel-Gaza conflict as having ‘significant impact on traffic and sales’ for its stores in the region. 

The US coffee giant has repeatedly sought to counter what it describes ‘false statements spread through social media’ over its position on the Israel-Gaza conflict.   

Founded in 1890, Alshaya Group became Starbucks’ franchise partner in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) in 1999 and has built a formidable business operating around 2,000 stores across Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the UAE – as well as Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. 

In February 2024, Reuters reported that Alshaya Group was seeking to sell approximately 30% of its Starbucks business, with US private equity firm Apollo Global Management Inc and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) cited as interested parties. 

Alshaya Group’s other licensed foodservice brands include Le Pain Quotidien, Shake Shack and Pizza Express. The business also operates franchised stores in the fashion, pharmacy and entertainment industries, including the H&M, Boots, Next and Debenhams brands.  

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