Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, is aiming for double-digit sales growth and market-share gain in the country through menu innovations, the chief executive of its India operations told ReTale, unfazed by competition from newer entrants such as Pret a Manger, Tim Hortons and Third Wave Coffee.
“You obviously need to be aware of competition and you cannot ignore them in an environment like ours,” said Sushant Dash, CEO of Tata Starbucks, the joint venture that operates Starbucks in India. “But what is more important is you do what you are good at, and if you do it consistently, doing it as per what the consumer requirements are, you will get your fair share. We don’t need to worry about that as long as we appeal to the right audience, we do the right things and we have consumers.”
In FY23, Starbucks’ India sales crossed the ₹1,000-crore sales mark for the first time since it set up shop in the country a decade ago. At ₹1,087 crore, it was up 71% from FY22.
Last year also saw the company launch masala chai and filter coffee in India on a pilot basis. It revamped its menu to attract consumers with Indianised and more affordable options. The menu included street-style, freshly assembled sandwiches, milkshakes, bite-sized snacks and a smaller beverage cup. Starbucks has now rolled out the expanded menu option across the country.
“If you see our growth rates for the last two, three years, or even over 10 years, what we have managed to establish, we are confident and we will continue to innovate, and will continue to make changes as per consumer requirements,” Dash told. “As long as we continue to do that, we are in a good place.”
Starbucks, which started India operations in October 2012, also recorded the fastest store expansion last fiscal, adding 71 stores to take the overall door count to 333.
In 2022, Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons had opened its first outlet in India, with plans to have over 100 stores over the next three years.
Last month, British coffee and sandwich chain Pret A Manger launched its first India shop in Mumbai, as part of its franchise agreement with Reliance Brands Limited to launch up to 100 stores over the next five years.