In the middle of last year, US-based coffee company, Starbucks, announced its planned entrance into the African market in 2016. The coffee giant is set to launch two shops in South Africa; the first store in the upmarket of Johannesburg, while the second will be opened in Mall of Africa, downtown Johannesburg. Both are scheduled to be opened in the month of April.
The coffee shops are meant to cater to South Africa’s growing coffee market, a development which shows the extent to which global brands pay attention to, and have taken interest in the continent’s growing middle class population. As Kris Engskov, a Starbucks Executive, puts it, “the coffee market here is vibrant and growing fast – we want to be part of that growth…”
Yesterday, Carlo Gonzaga, the Chief Executive of Taste Holdings, Starbucks’ local licensee, said the South African market is ready for Starbucks’ expansion across the country. “We think the South African market can, right now, take about 150 Starbucks stores,” he said. However, Gonzaga did add that the expansion will be a gradual process, seeing about 12 to 15 outlets opened by the end of the next two years.
The Starbucks chain has over 22,000 outlets worldwide, but are present in only two other African countries, Egypt and Morocco, and now SA. The company’s presence in SA will mean a fierce competition with already existing local coffee brands and vendors. The company said the new stores will serve coffee sourced from Africa in Starbucks original Espresso Roast blend and other coffees from around the world.