Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX ) founder and chief executive Howard Schultz kept it low-key at a press event today at the company's new Mumbai store, its first in India, a 4,000-square-foot multilevel palace. "I say with humility we must earn the respect of the Indian customer," Schultz reportedly said.
Starbucks has grand ambitions for its India operations. Previously announced plans called for 50 new stores by the end of the year and as many as 3,000 over time. India's Tata Global Beverages serves as a 50-50 partner in the venture. Two more Mumbai stores are expected to open this week.
Their timing seems right: India's domestic coffee market is already growing by 25% annually. Starbucks operates more than 17,000 stores in some 60 countries.
At the new store in India, offerings include Starbucks' signature espresso-based beverages, Tata Tazo tea, and food items including Western favorites and local flavors reflected in such items as the elaichi mawa croissant, murg tikka panini, and tandoori paneer roll. The companies have also made a commitment to locally sourcing coffee.