The First Starbucks Cafes Are Headed To Sub-Saharan Africa

July 15, 2015  |  

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Starbucks Corp. has set its eyes on taking the company far and wide across the globe, and its newest endeavor will bring caramel Macchiatos and lattes to Johannesburg. On Tuesday, the company announced its plans to bring the first stores to sub-Saharan Africa within the first half of 2016.

The caffeine creators have entered a licensed partnership with Taste Holdings Ltd., a South African holding group, that will allow Taste to operate Starbucks stores for up to 25 years, as well as open them in other African countries.

Bloomberg recently reported a boom in South Africa’s middle class that is attracting more and more international business. Standard Bank Group Ltd. predicts that by 2030 middle class households in sub-Saharan countries will grow to about 40 million.

“Starbucks is very excited to sell coffee for the first time in some of the same places in Africa where it sources it,” said Taste CEO Carlo Gonzaga in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s very important to figure out how to make the stores locally relevant, and Starbucks has excelled at this in other regions.”

In order to appeal more to its new sub-Saharan customers, Starbucks plans to change its menu slightly to offer more local favorites such as African rooibos tea. The tweaks can often be seen in other international locations that look to please the taste buds of its new surroundings.

The latte chain has around 22,000 locations across the globe, but only two in northern Africa, Cairo and Casablanca. However, the company currently sources coffee from nine African countries: Cameroon, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo and Kenya.

Next year is sure to be a big one for both Starbucks and Taste.

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