Starbucks arrived in Uruguay, with its first store opening in Montevideo Shopping mall in the capital city Wednesday. The store has a unique design and offers a wide range of Starbucks beverages and food, including Starbucks 100 percent arabica coffees from Latin America and around the world. International retail and restaurant operator Alsea exclusively owns and operates Starbucks stores in the country.
“Our first store in the beautiful country of Uruguay marks a key milestone for our expansion in Latin America,” says Ricardo Rico, Starbucks general manager and vice president for Latin America, who attended the opening celebrations in Montevideo. “At Starbucks we all look forward to welcoming customers to the beautiful Montevideo store and sharing some of the finest coffees from around the world served by our passionate and knowledgeable baristas. We want to thank the community for this warm welcome and celebrate our journey to Uruguay with our longtime, trusted partners at Alsea.”
“We’re filled with pride to open our first Starbucks store in Uruguay, which bolsters, without a doubt, our solid growth strategy in the region,” says Federico Tejado, Director of Alsea International. “It also represents our first step in the local market, where we hope to close the year operating at least five stores of the brand. We hope to reach 10 stores in operation by 2020 and generate more than 130 direct jobs.”
Starbucks first entered Latin America in 2002 and since then, Alsea has expanded Starbucks retail operations to include Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, and Chile, together operating more than 900 Starbucks stores in these markets. Alsea will similarly own and operate Starbucks retail stores across Uruguay. The opening in Uruguay marks Starbucks 77th global market, and 18th in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
The new store will offer the unique and iconic Starbucks Experience, including high quality, arabica coffee from Latin America and around the world consistent with our commitment to ethical sourcing. Customers can enjoy hot and cold handcrafted espresso beverages, prepared to the customer’s liking by Starbucks baristas. The menu will also feature signature items like Starbucks Frappuccino blended beverages, hot or cold brewed coffee, an assortment of food, tea, as well as grab-and-go options.
The design of the new store is especially unique, created to drive connections between customers and partners (employees), while honoring the Montevideo city and its culture. Exposed concrete columns and ceilings bring character and texture to the store. Custom leather details also adorn the space, a material with great local relevance, designed to evoke a warm ambience. The modern, pleasant and harmonious atmosphere includes a green living wall with local plants to connect the store to the origins and environment of a coffee farm.
One of the most striking features of the store is a mural painted by Nicolás Alfalfa, a local artist from the city of Montevideo. With his unique skills and techniques, Alfalfa was able to illustrate the Siren, the iconic symbol of the Starbucks brand, over a concrete finish. The Siren extends through the back perimeter of the store and can be observed from any point within the space.
“We are proud to present a one-of-a kind store that will make all our partners and customers in Uruguay feel proud,” says Pablo Jaratz, general manager of Starbucks Uruguay. “Our passionate and knowledgeable baristas have spent many months training with some of our best Starbucks baristas, coffee masters and experienced partners only for this day. We feel honored and ready to bring a truly unique coffeehouse experience to this market, one that not only will meet, but will exceed our customers' expectations every day.”
Starbucks has a long-history of putting partners and communities first with a goal to create economic opportunities for all. In the Latin America and Caribbean region, there are now more than 13,000 partners who proudly wear the green apron, including more than 11,500 partners employed by Alsea to work in Starbucks stores across Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay.
Since Starbucks earliest days, the company has strived to do well, by doing good. Beyond creating local jobs for our partners with meaningful benefits, Starbucks Uruguay announced a collaboration with Ceprodih (Center to Promote Human Dignity Foundation), a nonprofit organization in Montevideo working to promote and protect the rights of people facing barriers to opportunity. Starbucks Uruguay has committed to support a long-term project focused on women that aims to promote economic stability for women and their families through access to training and employment resources.
Prior to the market opening, Starbucks partners in Montevideo also volunteered more than 100 hours of community service with Ceprodih to help refurbish and beautify the nonprofit’s new headquarters where clients receive services.