Starbucks CEO and chairman Howard Schultz said he was surprised by the overwhelming support and "unaided awareness" of his company's brand following the opening of the company's first store in South Africa. The company had invested about $9 million to open 12-15 store, including a second in Johannesburg, but Shultz said the success of the first store could see that number increase dramatically.
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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, April 30 (UPI) -- Starbucks expanded its business to South Africa, opening its first store in the country in Johannesburg.
The store was located on of the corner of Cradock Heights and Tyrwhitt Avenue in Rosebank. Its design was inspired by the surrounding neighborhood as well as the original Starbucks in Seattle's Pike Place Market, the company said in a statement on April 21.
"This is a milestone for Starbucks and we are delighted to have arrived in South Africa," Starbucks vice president, licensed operations, Europe, Middle East and Africa Rhys Iley said. "With Taste Holdings, we will deliver the special Starbucks Experience for our new South African customers, a place for the community to gather and connect over a great cup of coffee."
After a successful first week of operation in Johannesburg Starbucks CEO and chairman Howard Schultz said he could envision extending their initial plan of investing about $9 million to open 12-15 stores in the country.
"I think this market is going to be larger than we probably thought initially," he said. "I've been to many Starbucks openings around the world, and I have never seen a line like this after a week of our opening. We're off to a fantastic start."
The menu features the traditional Starbucks offerings as well as one product in Rooibos tea. Prices were also adjusted to reflect South Africa's economy, with a grande latte costing the equivalent of $2.10.
In addition to the long lines at the stores opening, Schultz said he was surprised by the "unaided awareness" of his company's brand in South Africa and expected to see continued growth in the country.