Starbucks has grown rapidly in India in the 10 years since it opened its first shop in Mumbai. The number of shops has risen to over 300. According to Tata Starbucks, the operator of the shops in India, the country is ready for the first Starbucks Reserve shop.

The first Starbucks Reserve in the country was opened in the remodelled building where the first shop in India was opened. The building features two Starbucks cafés: a traditional café serving the classic (Indian) coffee menu and now a Reserve for those who demand a higher quality coffee than the regular Starbucks delivers.

The Reserve store offers its customers a more immersive coffee experience with baristas preparing coffee using alternative methods such as siphon, pour-over, Chemex and Nitro Cold Brew. According to Sushant Dash, CEO of Tata Starbucks, India is ready for the next level of coffee enjoyment, which is a little more expensive.

Despite the successful opening, it remains uncertain if and when the company will open another Reserve branch. Dash said it is best to wait for the reaction of Indian consumers to the concept.

Although India is one of the Asian countries where tea is traditionally the preferred beverage, coffee is becoming increasingly popular. Starbucks has also spread outside the major cities where its outlets have been well received. Last year was the most successful for the company, as it opened shops in 14 new cities.

One of the biggest challenges for the company was adapting the global menu to local tastes.

Getting that balance right is what is important, and this team has been doing the same from the very beginning—not just with the food menu, but also finding the right locations for stores.

Michael Conway, Starbucks Group President, International and Channel Development

The biggest competitor is the domestic chain Café Coffee Day, which operates 495 outlets in the country. Several world-renowned food and coffee chains have also fuelled the phenomenon with their presence, with Starbucks being the biggest so far.

​UK-based Costa Coffee, which has 69 outlets across India, also wants a share of the huge potential market of India. Another UK-based food chain, Pret-A-Manger, wants to open 100 shops by 2028. Canada’s Tim Hortons plans to open more than 250 shops in the same period.

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