By Shweta Lohia:
Starbucks, the largest coffee company in world, with 19,972 stores in sixty countries has made its debut in India with a store being inaugurated in Mumbai on the 15th of August 2012. Starbucks comes to India in alliance with Tata Global Beverages, a 50-50 joint venture which will be labelled as the Tata Starbucks Ltd.
India being a typical ‘chai’ loving country is developing a taste for coffee, the cafes in India had increased from just 700 in 2007 to 1,600 in 2011 and the figures are still increasing. The new fame that coffee has acquired during the past couple of years is the reason behind the Starbucks launch in India. After welcoming many coffee chains such as Cafe Coffee Day, Barista, and Costa Coffee to name a few, we are all now looking forward to Starbucks.
Though western style cafes are booming in India owing to India’s obsession with everything related to the ‘firangis’. However, Starbucks has kept in mind the Indian culture while designing its dÃ©cor and products. The Starbucks store has been Indian-ised by the presence of hand-carved wooden screens and tables of Indian teak. The Chief Executive Officer of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, who came for the store’s opening, called it “the most beautiful, elegant and dynamic store we have opened.” Food items such as chicken tikka panini, cardamom croissants and tandoori cottage cheese rolls add to the desi flavour. Starbucks has also given a thought to prices and it is a relief for all those who were afraid that Starbucks would be too expensive. On the contrary, some products have been priced lower than in other countries — for instance, it will sell a “short” espresso for a little more than $1.50.
The arrival of multinational companies is a clear indication of India’s fast growing popularity in the outside world. For instance, Howardz Schultz says “India is the most dynamic market with tremendous potential”. The launch of foreign companies in India is celebrated; however there is a fear of small companies going out of business by virtue of these multinationals. Therefore in January 2012, the Indian government allowed 100% FDI in single brand, raising the bar from 51% but with the condition that the companies who take the route of 100% FDI must procure 30% of their material from smaller Indian companies. Now India will soon be tagged as a developed country owing to the fast progress it is making.