A fake Starbucks recently opened up in the impoverished city of Caracas, Venezuela, and calls itself ‘We Proudly Serve’. The opening of the store has caused a commotion, partly because of the obvious fraud and partly because of the sale of expensive beverages in a recession-stricken country.
Currently, there are no Starbucks outlets in the country. Nestlé Venezuela is the only distributor authorised by Starbucks to sell its products. According to Nestlé Venezuela in a statement, the fake store has no association with the official Starbucks company, and that Nestlé “had not been contacted or involved in the marketing of these products in the country.” Starbucks also confirmed that it “does not have the We Proudly Serve Starbucks® coffee program in Venezuela at this time”.
The fake store, which takes its name from Starbucks’ official coffee program, is owned by supermarket owner Jorge Nieves. The idea came to him when he had extra space in a market in the city, and he wanted to improve the shopping experience. Even though Nieves acknowledged that this is not a Starbucks store, and that he “understood that Starbucks Corporation directly serves all its points of sale, does not franchise, and does not grant licenses to third parties, he said in an interview:
What we did was obviously acquire the equipment and the product. Those who we made the purchase from gave us a guideline of what we could do and what we could not do. And that guideline is being perfectly fulfilled.
On top of that, Nieves mentioned that he intends to continue operating the store, as long as it can retain the quality standards and guarantee original consumables and supplies. The question remains on whether Nieves will face legal action for infringing on the company’s trademark.
However, a twitter post later showed the sign been taken down, reportedly after consumers realised it wasn’t a real Starbucks!