BEIJING, November 26, 2012 - Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today advanced its growth plans in China with the opening of its 100th store in Beijing, celebrating the first store in the China market led by all certified Coffee Masters, further elevating Starbucks coffee expertise and uncompromising Starbucks Experience. The company also announced the launch of Starbucks China University, its innovative talent development program.
"China is a focal point of our global expansion efforts and we are proud to bring this unique store, staffed by all partners certified as Coffee Masters, to our customers here in Beijing and further demonstrate our espresso leadership," said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China. "Beijing is where we started our journey in China, opening our first store in 1999 and we are proud to now operate 100 stores across the city and more than 700 throughout Mainland China."
Starbucks has announced that China will be its second largest market by 2014 and will have 1,500 stores by 2015 across more than 70 cities.
First China Store Staffed by All Certified Coffee Masters Elevates Espresso Excellence While Consistently Delivering Authentic Starbucks Experience
The 100th store in Beijing is located at the Solana International Business District, and is staffed by all Starbucks Coffee Masters, baristas who have completed a rigorous certification process and have earned the right to wear the distinguished Black Apron after intensive coffee skills and knowledge training. Starbucks Coffee Masters have an unparalleled passion for coffee and are equipped with a high-level of artisanal coffee skills and expertise to deliver an exceptional Starbucks coffee experience to customers.
"Our passion and pursuit for high-quality arabica coffee is how we have built our company and the Starbucks brand the past 41 years," added Wong. "Our partners are at the heart of everything we do in our stores in China, and the certified Coffee Masters leading this store will introduce customers to even more unique elements of the espresso experience, demonstrating and defining our coffee leadership position in China."
To become a Coffee Master, partners undergo a vigorous training and skills examination, acquiring coffee knowledge spanning from coffee history, geography, agriculture to coffee sourcing, green coffee bean quality control, and Starbucks coffee roasting and blending. In addition, these certified coffee leaders demonstrate the highest level of expertise in the "last 10 feet" of the coffee journey – the steps Starbucks partners take to handcraft the perfect Starbucks espresso-based beverage, lead coffee tasting sessions and share the unique Starbucks coffee culture by building personal moments of connection with customers. Starbucks Coffee Masters renew their certifications regularly to ensure that they are not only highly-skilled coffee experts, but also the ambassadors who will inspire the appreciation of the Starbucks coffee culture and values.
This store will showcase the expertise of the Starbucks Coffee Masters using the manually operated La Marzocco espresso machine to create the perfect Starbucks espresso-based beverages and the Starbucks pour over brew for the perfect Starbucks whole bean coffee experience. Each Starbucks Coffee Master is also trained in Starbucks latte art, an exceptional artistic skill that adds a touch of creativity to each Starbucks coffee beverage.
The new store uses the Art Nouveau design concept to draw attention to Starbucks focus on environmental sustainability and the continued promotion of a Starbucks coffee culture and lifestyle. Wall murals of coffee trees, bags of coffee cherries and roasted arabica beans perfectly showcase the complete Starbucks bean-to-cup journey, which has enabled the delivery of an authentic Starbucks Experience.
Starbucks China University Strengthens Investment in Talent Development for Partners
The coffee passion, artisanal skills and expertise presented at Starbucks stores requires the persistence by each Starbucks partner in their individual learning journey. To help partners enhance their coffee and service expertise, the company has initiated its first class through the innovative Starbucks China University. The Starbucks China University curriculum will advance the personal and career development of Starbucks partners across China, including leadership skills as well as a deep understanding of Starbucks coffee craftsmanship and culture.
"Our partners are at the heart and soul of our signature Starbucks Experience, and also the cornerstone of Starbucks success. It is therefore critical that Starbucks continues to invest in their development, share with them the company's success and set them up for future growth and development," Wong added. "These investments are critical as we work to achieve our ambitious goals and future aspirations in China."
Starbucks China University will be a world-class corporate university that inspires coffee passion, builds retail expertise and nurtures the human spirit that connects it all. As the Center of Excellence for Starbucks China people development, the virtual university features a personalized learning experience through various customized methods, including digital and mobile platforms, to provide partners with modules matching their interests and career development goals.
At the same time, Starbucks China University will be implementing a "Partner Professors" initiative. These "Partner Professors" comprise experienced professionals from store partners to senior management executives, each possessing deep coffee knowledge, practical business retail expertise and business management skills.
Starbucks China University will also offer training curriculums that encompass a broad range of areas and functions of the Starbucks China business, including coffee knowledge and culture training, and provide tailor-designed curriculums on retail and related functional training as well as leadership competency.
As a global coffee leader operating in China, Starbucks today already boasts one of the most comprehensive barista training and certification programs. Through Starbucks China University, Starbucks will conduct more than 200 different training modules, from now through the end of 2015, at various levels through the organization. Starbucks China University is also looking to collaborate with academic institutions and related Chinese government agencies to strengthen its value proposition and offerings in the market.
About Starbucks Coffee Company
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. China will become Starbucks second largest market outside the U.S. by 2014, and Starbucks aims to operate over 1,500 stores in China by 2015. Starbucks currently operates over 700 stores across over 50 cities in China. Through our Starbucks partners, we insist on our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup.
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