Starbucks tiptoes into Italy

Each week, roughly 90 million people pass through a Starbucks in one of the 70 countries that house its coffee shops.

One country not on that list: Italy.

That will change early next year, however, when Starbucks opens its first shop in Milan, reports The New York Times.

Starbucks chairman and chief executive Howard D. Schultz announced the chain’s plans in Milan during Fashion Week. For Schultz, coming to Italy is personal: a visit to Milan in 1983 inspired him to remake Starbucks from a chain of four stores in Seattle that sold coffee for people to make at home into an experience.

“There are very few markets and stores that I’m as intimately involved in as this,” Schulz said. “We’re going to come here with great humility.”

Starbucks has always been careful in Europe, aware that the continent’s coffee aficionados have refined tastes and an abundance of good coffee shops. Yet Starbucks has marched successfully into Britain, France, and Germany, and it has even found success in Vienna, the Austrian capital, which gave birth to the coffeehouse.

But Italy is Italy, and there are many things to consider in making the entrance into the “land of the perfect espresso and the exquisitely frothy cappuccino.”

[H/T New York Times]

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