Starbucks Partners with Alibaba in Opening AR Roastery

Wednesday, 06 Dec, 2017

What would a supermarket-size coffee shop look like?

The cavernous 30,000 square-foot location is the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery-a so-called experience center-outside the brand's hometown of Seattle.

The Shanghai Roastery will also be the first of Starbucks' 27,000 locations worldwide, and the first of its kind in China, to seamlessly integrate a real-time, in-store and online customer experience, powered by Alibaba's Mobile Taobao app and the company's augmented-reality (AR) technology. "We have over 600 stores in Shanghai", Schultz said.

As Silvia Antonioli reports, the opulent flagship store with gourmet coffees and a bakery and will be open to the public on Wednesday - one of the 10,000 outlets that Starbucks is planning to operate in China within a decade.

The Roastery will have 400 employees who can serve up to 550 people at a time, the company claims.

In 2019, the company has also planned to build an even bigger store, announcing plans for a 43,0000 sq ft Reserve Roastery in Chicago in 2019. And if such a thing exists, the new Shanghai shop is probably it.

Starbucks opens its biggest store to date in Shanghai
Starbucks opens its largest store to date in Shanghai. Starbucks opens its biggest store to date in Shanghai

On Tuesday, crowds sampled fresh brews and watched beans being roasted on-site at the grand opening event for the brand's first global Starbucks Reserve Roastery, focused on serving higher-end gourmet coffee.

In China, Starbucks' young baristas and shift supervisors receive a housing allowance subsidy, Wong said.

But despite all of Shanghai Roastery's features, it's still a coffee shop at heart.

Unlike in the US, Starbucks' challenge in China has been winning over traditional tea drinkers to coffee, rather than fending off local rivals. Now, almost 20 years later, China is Starbucks' fastest growing market, with a new store opening every 15 hours. Last quarter, China posted an 8 percent increase, compared with a 3 percent gain in the USA, excluding impacts from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

It's the Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai, a new installment of Starbucks's upscale Roastery concept that first opened in Seattle in 2014. Our corner Starbucks store suddenly seems inadequate!