35 Years After Milan's Espresso Bars Inspired Howard Schultz, Starbucks Finally Enters Italy With an Opulent Roastery
Starbucks’ long-rumored expansion into Italy is finally reality. Its first Reserve Roastery in Europe is opening tomorrow in a opulent former post office on the Piazza Cordusio in Milan.
The company describes the store as “both an homage to the city of Milan and a celebration of everything Starbucks has learned about coffee in its 47-year history.” The Reserve store will offer the coffee beverages that one would expect but also artisanal cocktails and baked goods from Rocco Princi.
The 25,000-square-foot Reserve Roastery in Milan creates 300 new jobs and is to be followed by regular cafes operated with local franchisee Percassi.
The Italian entry has been a long time coming. Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ longtime CEO and now chairman emeritus, mentioned Italy as a target market as early as 1998, telling The New Yorker that to open in the country would be “to climb Mount Everest.” That year, Starbucks did expand internationally to London, but Italy was still two decades away.
“During my first trip to Milan in 1983, I was captivated by the sense of community I found in the city’s espresso bars — the moments of human connection that passed so freely and genuinely between baristas and their customers,” Schultz said in a statement. “The opening of the Milan Roastery is the story of Starbucks coming full circle.”
After an invite-only gala tonight, the Reserve Roastery will open its doors to customers Friday at 9 a.m. Seattle and Shanghai have the only other Starbucks Reserve stores so far; more of the luxurious cafes are planned for Chicago, New York and Tokyo.