Inside the 30000-Square-Foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai

Katrina Barker
December 6, 2017

Starbucks already has 600 stores in Shanghai - the most of any city in the world which the company has a presence - and the company says China continues to represent its fastest-growing coffee market.

In addition, Starbucks has included an augmented reality or AR experience for people who visit Shanghai's Roastery.

Starbucks opened its first store in China in 1999 in Beijing. Partnering with Alibaba's e-commerce sites Taobao and Tmall, Starbucks' Shanghai Roastery uses a digital menu with visualizations of the coffee-brewing process, and company stories in a mobile app that offers customers a video-game-like experience as they walk around the store with smartphones. Revenue from the Asia-Pacific region accounted for nearly 15 percent of Starbucks' revenue for the fiscal year ended in October.

The Roastery is a window into Starbucks' future as the coffee chain attempts to bolster its premium image.

There are plans for a fancy Starbucks roastery to open in NY next year, but the company says it won't be quite as large.

One of the three coffee bars is 88 feet long.

On Wednesday, Starbucks is opening its biggest cafe in the world in Shanghai. Starbucks now has more than 3,000 stores across 136 cities. The company announced plans in July to buy out its partners in its Each China joint venture, for US$1.3 billion.

Simply point a smartphone or tablet at key features around the Roastery to "bring to life information about the Starbucks bean-to-cup story", according to the company.

For the first time ever, unique, small-lot Reserve coffee which Starbucks sources from more than 30 countries around the world, including coffee from China'sYunnan Province, will be roasted in China by eight highly trained Chinese coffee roasters. Sales in same-stores were up by 8% in China in the most recent quarter, in comparison to an increase globally of just 2%. In the fiscal year 2017, Chinese sales grew by 7 percent, while global sales grew by 3 percent.

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