NEWS » Starbucks coming to Italy?

Starbucks coming to Italy?

Imagine you are in Milan. You've been walking around all day and now you need a coffee, would you consider Starbucks as a possibility? As a tourist it might be a comfortable familiar place to rest in, feeling as if at home, as you know the prices, the environment, the soft armchairs and sofas, somehow you even know the kind of people you could be sharing your table with, but you are in Italy, shouldn't you try something more Italian than this?


This dilemma hasn't been an option so far but it might became real as Starbucks, the world's biggest coffee chain, might open in Italy as soon as Christmas.


According to Ruters talks are underway, and the newspaper Corriere della Sera reported that the company was negotiating with the Italian businessman, Antonio Percassi, to bring the Starbucks brand to Italy. 


Starbucks spokesman Corey duBrowa declined to comment and denied the rumours saying that it was only speculation. Italians love their coffee. 70 million cups are consumed in the country each year, but it's mainly espresso and cappuccino, while the American world's famous chain is renowned for Frappuccino in a take-away paper cup.

It has been speculated that Italians might not like Starbucks' coffee as they are used to short strong coffee drinks, which cost much less than Starbucks' brews, and are usually drunk at a bar counter.

For this reason, a unique formula to seduce reluctant Italian customers will be needed. Reportedly the Italian shopping mall entrepreneur Antonio Percassi, who has been responsible for the expansion of Zara and Victoria’s Secret in Italy, is advising Starbucks founder Howard Schultz on how to make Italian costumers want Starbucks coffee.


In many Italian cities it is still quite difficult to find free wi-fi connection in bars  and there isn't the habit of working or meeting clients at the cafe, but will free wi-fi be enough to lure Italian costumers into a Starbucks' shop in Italy?


If Starbucks does venture into Italy, it would be the second major US brand to challenge locals at their own game this year. The American pizza chain Domino's, taking advantage of the city’s lack of delivery service, opened a restaurant in Milan.


Coffee, after oil, is currently the second largest traded commodity in the world. This trend looks as if it is going to continue as Starbucks is pushing into new territories faster than it can come up with new coffee variations.


If the rumours will be confirmed, and we'll see Starbucks in Milan, will this mean that Italians will resist the tempting odour of a freshly made Italian coffee? 

Giulia Lombardo

»Back to: NEWS