Starbucks already has more than 3,000 of its standard cafes in 136 Chinese cities, including more than 600 in Shanghai alone, the largest number of stores in any city in the world. It's the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery - the company's new retail offering - outside the U.S. It's also the largest Starbucks in the world, almost twice as large as the Roastery in Seattle that opened three years ago.
Starbucks Coffee Company has pulled out all the stops in Shanghai, opening the second location of its interactive, multi-sensory Starbucks Reserve Roastery format.
Twice the size of the original Seattle Roastery, opening the Shanghai Roastery marks "a turning point for the corporation" Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz, who oversees the brand's global growth including the vital market of China for the company where he was formerly CEO, told CNBC's Andrew Ross Sorkin on a tour this week. Customers can watch the green beans as they are roasted, then sent through copper "symphony" pipes (named because of the musical sound the beans make as they travel through them) directly to silos at the coffee bars.
The store in Shanghai is only one of the five Roasteries that were expected to open before 2020. Customers, who download the app, get a whole new experience as they point their phones at key features around the roastery. "We wanted to enable them to order wherever they want".
With a new Starbucks store opening in China every 15 hours - setting the country well on the path to surpass the U.S. total number of stores within a decade - it's clear that those dreams are going to keep growing at an extraordinary rate. In addition to being able to place an order and pay directly from their phones, customers will also be alerted digitally when their order is ready to be picked up, the release said.
They can have similar experiences all over the roastery, Emily Chang, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Starbucks, China, said in a company press release, "It's like Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka". After earning them all, they can receive a custom Roastery social media filter to share online. "It's coffee as theater", Jiang said. That's why the digital designers didn't want Roastery visitors to have to be pulled out of the spell to go stand in line to order. It offers unique beverage menu items not found at any other Starbucks in China, including more than 100 beverages such as Teavana tea infused with nitrogen and brewed with Steampunk that uses steam to extract unique flavors from each tea leaf. Customers can book coffee tasting experiences on Alibaba's e-commerce site as well as buy special Starbucks Reserve coffee and related products tied to the store's launch.
The ceiling is covered in 10,000 handmade tiles made from American walnut, that are hexagonal in shape and apparently inspired by the locking of an espresso shot on an espresso machine.
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