Starbucks is surely expanding at a very fast rate and today they have announced the introduction of their fourth and yet the largest Partner-Family programme in China.
Starbucks is already operating in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The latest family oriented plans of Starbucks for Chengdu are surely a proof of the high territorial ambitions of the coffee company. It has also been reported that the company has plans to double its presence in China by 2019.
When Starbucks was initially opened in China, the fate of the company here seemed to be quite unclear in the country which has a very rich tea-drinking history. Almost in 17 years the company has revolutionized and changed the Chinese peoples’ approach towards viewing and drinking coffee.
Four years ago the very first Partner-Family forum was introduced by Starbucks in Beijing, the Chine capital. With a focus on family values and traditions of the local community, this programme aims to involve family in their partners’ career and surely a long-term commitment and journey with Starbucks.
“In Asia, the family is a very strong focal point,” John Culver, the group president of Starbucks Coffee China/Asia-Pacific, told. “Which is why Starbucks places strong values on that.”
The Partner –Family Forum in Chengdu will aim to involve around thousands of Starbucks’ families and partners. For shift supervisors and eligible full-time barista the benefits include a significant housing allowance subsidy and a leave programme called the “Coffee Break”, which will allow the employees with long serving history to take a leave of up to 12 month to spend some quality time with their families.
Starbucks has invested more than US$8 million in the local communities, since 2006. Most of this investment has gone to the Soong Ching Ling Foundation. Mr. Culver further said that the company will continue to invest in community programmes and will take initiatives to develop Starbucks as “an integral strand in the fabric of Chinese society.”
Apart from developing strong relationships and professional ties with its partners, Starbucks is also giving a lot of importance to new innovations so that they remain relevant in the Chinese market. This explains why Starbucks has established its own Research and Development center in Shanghai for the purpose of coming up with food and beverages innovations to effectively cater the Chinese tastes. Starbucks in China has an extensive menu of Chinese traditional treats and teas, including dragon dumplings and mooncakes.
In order to further enhance the experience of their Chinese customers, Starbucks has also set up their China Design Studio for designing unique spaces and improve the experience of each store. “Every store in China is different and pays respect to the local community,” said the President of Starbucks China, Belinda Wong. “We deepen our emotional connection with our customers by delivering stores that are in perfect harmony to a local coffeehouse, whilst still reflecting the aspirational global Starbucks brand and our deep coffee heritage.”
In the Taikoo Li store of Starbucks in Chengdu, the environment and the service encourages the customers to spend more of their time in the historical three-storey building and all of this can be attributed to the experiential specialty-coffee concept.
The Chinese flagship Starbucks stores are quite different from the ones in US, they are designed in unique ways to invite their customers to spend hours there, meeting friends, doing your own work and getting a chance to learn a bit about the coffee brewing process by observing the barista and conversing with them at their interactive bar and through the open-kitchen concept.
Starbucks has also partnered with Alibaba’s Tmall recently in order to launch its unique e-flagship store, which will be the first online gifting platform of Starbucks in China. It may seem to be just an e-commerce venture but actually it is more than that, it will enable the customers of Starbucks to build deeper and meaningful relationships with their friends and family, which certainly seems to be great idea.