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Tired of sipping on sweet, milky ‘chai’ at the local tea-stall? Are you interested in trying out some Indo-Western exotic bites along with a latte? Well, come down to Mumbai and you will be able to. Indian taste buds have gone international with the dominating presence of cafés such as Café Coffee Day, UK’s Costa Coffee, Australia’s Gloria Jeans, and the US’s The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Now it’s time for India’s caffeine dreams to become even bigger with the entry of Seattle-based multinational coffee chain, Starbucks.
In an $80 million joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, Starbucks India is known as Tata Starbucks Ltd. Starbucks, which has more than 17,600 branches in over 61 countries, has now opened three new outlets in Mumbai at the historic Elphinstone Building in Horniman Circle, the Taj Mahal Hotel and Palace, and Oberoi Mall in the Mumbai suburbs.
The Indian menu has been tailored to meet the local tastes and the menu items reflect this unique fusion of East and West. There are items like Chicken Tikka Panini, Tamarind Peanut Chicken Calzone, Chai Tea Latte, and Elaichi Mawa Croissant. The items are also priced significantly lower as compared to those at other Starbucks’ outlets across the world. The company is in a bid to woo India, which is essentially a tea-loving nation. The country’s tea sector is the thousands of tea-stalls scattered all over the country’s streets. For as little as five Indian rupees, one can kick start their day on sweet, milky, elaichi-flavored tea served in small, glass tumblers.
India’s openness to cafes and coffee is still in the nascent stage. At present, there are 1,950 cafes in the country and they contribute to the country’s $230 million revenue. This figure is also expected to grow to 13-14 percent over the next five years. Tata Group plans to open 50 more stores by the end of 2012. The company is also planning to set up a café in Delhi by early 2013.
The Starbucks outlet in Horniman Circle is spread over sprawling 4000 square feet of space and occupies two floors in South Mumbai’s elite business hub, making sales of 8.5 lakh Indian rupees per day. On opening day, October 19, 2012, there were long queues of people forming outside the South Mumbai café, all waiting to get in. Everybody was excited to try out the offerings by the newest entrant on the coffee market in India. They waited to grab a cup of their favorite coffee for over an hour.
Starbucks boss, Howard Schultz, agrees that the company has faced challenges while entering foreign markets such as those in Japan and China but they have overcome them. Starbucks has over 600 outlets in China and the success of India’s outlets is already exceeding expectations.
Analysts are also hopeful with estimations that the coffee market in India is expected to haul in more than $500 million over the next five years. Will Starbucks be able to build its presence in India, facing stiff competition from other players such as Barista, Costa Coffee, and the local Café Coffee Day? Only time will tell.
Image Courtesy : Fran Simó