Starbucks thought it would have 30 stores in SA by 2022 – but it will hit 41 amid the pandemic.

 Starbucks. (Image: Business Insider South Africa/Ntando Thukwana)

  • Starbucks South Africa will, by the end of December, have expanded by 41 stores after anticipating it would open just 30 – by the end of 2022. 
  • Rand Capital Coffee, the current licensee of Starbucks in South Africa, inherited 13 stores from its previous licensee Taste Holdings in December 2019. 
  • The growth was further accelerated by Starbucks SA and Rand Capital Coffee’s partnership with Shoprite Checkers at the height of the pandemic. 

With the pandemic having caused a job bloodbath in various sectors including the restaurant industry, Starbucks South Africa pushed forward with an exponential expansion to its stores.

Under new licensee Rand Capital Coffee (RCC), the brand in South Africa has expanded by over 40 stores amid the pandemic.

“In 2019, we set out to build 30 new stores by March 2022. Despite the macro interruptions this year and last, including the pandemic and related lockdowns, looting, metal workers strike, load and water-shedding, we will have managed to open a total of 41 by the end of this month, for a total of 54 stores.

“So, we’re way ahead of schedule with more stores opening in the new year,” said Starbucks South Africa CEO Adrian Maizey.

RCC acquired the brand from its previous licensee Taste Holding in 2019. Taste had brought the brand into the country and grew it to 13 stores over a period of five years.

Taste Holding’s food segment faced many challenges, and after selling or closing the remainder of its food businesses, the group rebranded as Luxe and put its focus mainly on jewellery.

“Despite only having a few months between acquiring the business and the first major wave of Covid-19, we had already begun to transform our business to meet the evolving needs of customers for increased convenience, connection, and personalisation – changes that have only accelerated because of Covid-19 – and this has put us in good stead [for growth],” Maizey told Business Insider South Africa.

RCC’s investment ambitions saw the brand grow into many stores in South Africa including opening the first Starbucks store in Cape Town in December 2020, and diversifying its store portfolio.

The accelerated grow was further boosted by Starbucks SA’s collaboration with Shoprite Checkers’ FreshX supermarkets – which it approached for a partnership during mid-2020 at the height of the pandemic – and a change of strategy.

“Shifting away from opening larger stores to smaller kiosk-format locations has been key to allowing the Starbucks brand to gain renewed momentum in South Africa. For example, the new Starbucks kiosks in the FreshX supermarkets is a perfect partnership for us as it allows us to extend Starbucks offering into regions and neighbourhoods where we otherwise might not be able to reach.

“As our Starbucks store portfolio evolves, the formats and locations of new stores are being tailored to optimise the experience for customers visiting, working, and drinking there,” Maizey said.

The company’s investments in stores, suppliers, agencies, and service providers has, according to Maizey, indirectly resulted in the creation or retention of hundreds of additional jobs in South Africa, most notably in the hospitality and construction industries, which have suffered significantly during the pandemic.

Source: Business Insider South Africa – www.businessinsider.co.za

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