Starbucks debuts in Italy with premium brews, novelty bar

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Italy is Starbucks’ 78th global market, and the Milan opening comes 20 years after Starbucks opened its first store in Europe. (AP)
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Starbucks is betting that premium brews and novelties like a heated marble-topped coffee bar will win patrons in a country fond of its espresso rituals. (AP)
Updated 06 September 2018

Starbucks debuts in Italy with premium brews, novelty bar

  • Decades ago, Milan’s coffee bars inspired the chain’s vision
  • Now Starbucks is hoping clients will visit its new store, called the Reserve Roastery

MILAN: Starbucks is opening its first store in Italy, betting that premium brews and novelties like a heated marble-topped coffee bar will win customers in a country fond of its daily espresso rituals.
Decades ago, Milan’s coffee bars inspired the chain’s vision. Now Starbucks is hoping clients will visit its new store, called the Reserve Roastery, to watch beans being roasted, sip coffee or enjoy cocktails at a mezzanine-level bar in a cavernous, former post office near the city’s Duomo, or cathedral.
Starbucks chief design officer Liz Muller told said earlier this week that the company’s “not coming to Italy to teach people about coffee. This is where coffee was born.”
Instead, Muller said, Starbucks “wanted to come and bring a premium experience that is different to what people in Italy are used to.”
She described that formula as including “many different brewing techniques and a space where we want you to stay longer and relax and enjoy.”
In Italy, an espresso at a coffee bar is usually a quick morning or after-lunch ritual performed standing up. In many neighborhoods, cafes are practically on every corner, and Italians are on a first-name basis with their trusted barista.
Italy is Starbucks’ 78th global market, and the Milan opening comes 20 years after Starbucks opened its first store in Europe, in London. The company has described the Milan store as “the crown jewel of Starbucks global retail footprint.” It says it plans more cafes for Milan later this year.
Milan is the first place where Starbucks has opened a store in its Roastery format in untested territory. It opened a Roastery in Seattle, the US city that is home to its corporate headquarters, in 2014, and a second one in Shanghai last year.
Italians are used to marble counters for coffee bars, but Starbucks boasts that it outfitted its counter tops in the Milan store with heating so they won’t feel stone cold on chill days. The centerpiece of the Milan store is a 6.5-meter (22-foot) high bronze cask, part of the roasting process.
The company also hopes the store’s cocktail bar will be an attraction: Many who work in Milan, Italy’s fashion and financial capital, cherish the tradition of meeting friends or colleagues for an “aperitivo,” or pre-dinner cocktail, often in cafes.


Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

Updated 03 December 2020

Egyptian minister hails reforms as public investment jumps 70%

  • The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate
  • A plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021

CAIRO: The volume of public investment in Egypt grew by 70 percent in the 2020/2021 fiscal year, reaching 595 billion Egyptian pounds ($37.9 billion), Minister of Planning and Economic Development Hala Al-Saeed has said.

In a speech at the Egypt Economic Summit 2020, she said that Egypt could become one of only three economies across the Middle East to achieve economic growth this year.

The growth followed reforms that helped make the Egyptian economy “more flexible” and “able to absorb external shocks,” she said.

Al-Saeed said Egypt faced great challenges that led to imbalances in the monetary, financial and external axes, which caused a decline in Egyptian economic indicators. The rate of economic growth reached about 1.8 percent — less than the population growth rate.

The minister added that a plan to control population increase will begin in January 2021, as Egypt’s population is expected to grow by 2.5 million annually and reach 130 million in 2030.

Al-Saeed said that achieving development requires sustained economic progress to overcome weak population growth and the challenges facing the Egyptian economy in light of political and economic changes and the coronavirus pandemic.

The challenge helped Egypt commit to reforms based on comprehensive planning and an ambitious vision for the future, in the form of Egypt’s Vision 2030 sustainable development strategy, the minister said.

Egypt’s implementation of reforms since November 2016 led to “overall stability” and “comprehensive growth.” This was reflected in positive indicators that the Egyptian economy saw before the coronavirus outbreak, she added.

The rate of economic growth was about 5.6 percent in the first half of the 2019/2020 fiscal year, and about 5 percent during the third quarter. There was an average growth of 5.4 percent in the first nine months of the year, before the coronavirus outbreak.

Al-Saeed said that international institutions had “positive expectations” regarding the Egyptian economy.

She referred to the results of the World Economic Outlook report issued by the International Monetary Fund in October 2020, in which the Fund raised its expectations for Egypt’s gross domestic product growth to 3.5 percent for the year, compared with a previous forecast of 2 percent in the June report.

If the prediction is realized, it will make Egypt among only three economies in the Middle East and Central Asia to achieve economic growth this year.