Three growth areas
The meeting centered around three key areas for growth: digital, international, and top-shelf products to complement the already massive core business for the brand. The company boasts more than 13,000 units and nearly $15 billion in annual sales.
Starbucks is hoping to expand the presence of its dedicated app among regular customers, and to build digital relationships with the 60 million monthly customers who are not members of Starbucks Rewards. Beyond implementing a mobile pay option for non-Rewards customers, the brand is looking to further ingratiate itself in customers’ minds as an easily accessible food option on mobile devices.
While Starbucks has a strong presence around the globe, the brand is looking to double down on efforts to plant roots in China, the largest country on Earth by population with more than four times the human capital of the U.S.
Starbucks hasn’t taken that market size for granted. The total number of Chinese units has grown from 800 to 3,200 since 2013—an average of one new store opening every 15 hours, or 480 each year. The company set its sights on 5,000 stores in China by 2021, noting that growth was on pace to hit that figure.
The final core tenet of the brand’s growth strategy was further support of the “halo” on Starbucks’ core business: its premium Reserve lines of products, which consists of small-lot coffee, retail business, and Italian artisan foods from Princi.
Since opening the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle in 2014, the brand has aggressively expanded its high-end strategy.
Starbucks opened its first international Roastery in Shanghai, launched the first domestic Princi location, and founded dozens of international Starbucks Reserve bars. The company also has plans to bring new premium Roastery concepts Roasteries to Milan and New York later this year, then Chicago and Tokyo in 2019. The brand noted a goal of 1,000 Reserve stores and plenty more premium Roastery locations.
“The Starbucks Reserve brand represents the pinnacle of coffee theater and passion, serving as inspiration to the entire organization,” Johnson said. “As these store innovations become refined, customers can expect to see an evolution of our innovation through our broader store portfolio, elevating the entire premium experience for Starbucks and the coffee industry.”