Starbucks to open in India
Vice chairman of Tata Global Beverages R.K .Krishnakumar (L) and John Culver president of Starbucks China and Asia Pacific. — AFP pic
MUMBAI, Jan 31 — Starbucks will make its eagerly awaited foray into India later this year, opening outlets under a deal announced Yesterday with Tata Global Beverages to tap into the country’s fast-growing taste for coffee.
Tata, part of steel-to-software conglomerate Tata Group, and Seattle-based Starbucks said they had entered into a 50:50 joint venture that will operate Starbucks cafes starting in New Delhi and Mumbai in August or September.
“India is a unique market which gives us huge opportunities,” Starbucks’ China and Asia Pacific president John Culver told reporters, saying they would not stop at India’s two main cities.
Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee shop chain, has plans for at least 50 outlets by the end of 2012 as the group bets on lifestyle changes that are turning the tea-drinking country into a booming market for cafes.
“We will move as fast as possible,” Culver said.
Outlets are planned for shopping malls, airports, railway stations and other locations.
The joint venture will start up with an initial investment of four billion rupees (RM246 million) and be branded “Starbucks Coffee: A Tata Alliance”, said R.K.
Krishnakumar, vice-chairman of Tata Global Beverages.
Starbucks has been eyeing the Indian market for years, but it will face strong competition from established coffee chains. The Indian-owned Cafe Coffee Day chain leads the pack with more than 1,000 outlets.
The nation of 1.2 billion people has traditionally been a tea-drinking country, but Western-style coffee chains have grown in popularity in recent years among the wealthy and growing middle class.
The change in tastes has less to do with a fondness for Italian espresso and more to do with the social cachet conferred by the beverage in class-conscious India, analysts say.
Starbucks initially planned to open up its first coffee shop in India in 2007 but put the plans on the backburner amid uncertainty about the government’s foreign investment policy.
Starbucks has a separate deal to source coffee for its global operations, including its planned cafes in India, from Tata Global Beverages unit Tata Coffee, Asia’s largest coffee plantation company.
Starbucks and Tata also said they were planning to jointly market a premium tea product to be called Tata Tazoi. — AFP-Relaxnews
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Local Indians, how about a franchise called “Wallah” or “Wallahbucks” complete with the Indian version of Medusa logo (the Indian Medusa has snakes coming out of her MOUTH), with the above types of drinks as premium drinks to compete? The ingredients of near 5000 years of Ayurvedic traditional drinks (even the most popular should number in the 100s) vary from region to region and could become an impressive selection so large that the typical Western versions could become relegated to a sideshow.
India’s entrepreneurs (if not the Indian state) could feature some Indian drink franchises as below conceptualised :
Karha (a base of ground ginger and green cardamom pods), Kashmiri Karha – this version with almonds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and sometimes saffron, Ayurveda Drink – nutmeg, coriander, rose flavoring (where rose petals are boiled along with the loose-leaf tea), or liquorice root, Tea Masala typically consists of cardamom powder, cinnamon powder, ground cloves, ginger powder, and pepper powder. With Demerara Drink– sugar, other brown sugars, palm or coconut sugars to taste. Also in Mamri Drink– granular form, slushy iced beverage form resembling a milkshake or plain hot. American beverages are generally made with cinnamon which tends to be the dominant flavor, so simply to be distinctly Indian, have as few cinnamon based drinks as possible. In countering Westernised flavours, use traditional ingredients such as traditional masala spices, relegating vanilla or chocolate to a relatively minor role.
To counter the ‘Smoothie’ bar, use the proposed Lhassibucks franchise which are a distinct variety of creamy yoghurt and spice infused drinks which include Sweet lassi flavored with sugar, rosewater and/or lemon, Mango or other local Indian fruits, Saffron lassi, which are particularly rich specialty of Sindh in Pakistan and Jodhpur and Rajasthan in India, Makkhaniya lassi with stylized lumps (design impressed) ‘Makkhan Butter’ congealed fat of various Indian plants, Fruit Lhassi (with or without additional sugar) sweetened kesar fruit pulp mix of yogurt, cream, or ice cream. Chaas or Chaach Lhassi (simply ‘majjige’ in Kannada, ‘taak’ in Marathi, ‘majjiga’ in Telugu and ‘moru’ in Tamil and Malayalam) is salted, watterier and has no special butterfat. Finally (though may need some legislation that at least allows Indian persons in other country to access at least if not locals) – Bhang (or bhung) Lhassi which contains bhang, a liquid derivative of cannabis (marijuana), which has effects similar to other eaten forms of cannabis. Optional fresh ground ginger & green chillies may also be added to the Lhassi beverage for seasoning on request. The exotic concoction is topped with ground pistachio nuts or Jeera (cumin seeds) added for taste, or fresh coriander sprinkled in the shape of various Hindi words (much like the patterns in cappuchino). Beats the typical cocktail yea?
Babu’s Masala (Gentleman’s Latte) or exotic South American-Indian fusion Coca Lhassi drinks anyone?