Starbucks announced plans on Sunday to open its first Italian coffee shop in Milan in early 2017, with hopes to open more locations throughout the country.
Starbucks partnered with a licensee of the brand, Percassi Group, a Bergamo-based company that has developed other American brands like Victoria’s Secret in the country.
CEO Howard Schultz said in a release the partners will bring the “Starbucks Experience” to Italy in a way that “will make you all proud.” Schultz said he has been going to Italy since 1983 and Italian coffee makers inspired his vision for the coffee house chain, which now has more than 23, 000 stores around the world but not a single outlet yet in Italy.
It is not clear how much demand there will be for Starbucks coffee in Italy. The country has a well-established market and culture for espresso, posing a challenge for the giant U.S. chain.
“Starbucks history is directly linked to the way the Italians created and executed the perfect shot of espresso. Everything that we’ve done sits on the foundation of those wonderful experiences that many of us have had in Italy, and we’ve aspired to be a respectful steward of that legacy for 45 years.
Now we’re going to try, with great humility and respect, to share what we’ve been doing and what we’ve learned through our first retail presence in Italy. Our first store will be designed with painstaking detail and great respect for the Italian people and coffee culture. And, my hope is that we will create a sense of pride for our partners – so much so that every partner who sees our store or walks through the doors will say: ‘We got it right.’”