Bringing Starbucks to Italy

I know many of you are probably addicted to your morning Starbucks. And to those studying in Milan in the future, here’s a treat for you.

On September 6th, 2018, Starbucks opened only the third of its Reserve Roastery locations in the world. The other two are located in Seattle (Starbucks HQ) and Shanghai. This is an absolutely breathtaking 25,000 sq-foot roastery that looks like it’s more like a high-end industrial factory. There are pipes and machines everywhere that constantly have fresh, artisan coffee beans moving. It really is a sight to see. This is not the place to just get a black coffee. They have speciality drinks like my cold brew mule (a play on a Moscow Mule) that you really cannot get elsewhere. They also serve food and even alcohol.

Honestly, the most impressive part of this whole store is the careful business strategy that was executed behind the scenes. Starbucks had never before had a location in Italy. There were a lot of local Italians who were not interested in having a Starbucks. If you did not know, coffee in Italy is very different. In fact, Milan actually is where espressos were created. They are very proud of their coffee making origins. Howard Schultz, the previous CEO of Starbucks, made it very clear that Starbucks was not coming to try and teach Italians that their coffee was better. Instead, they came respectfully, looking to simply show Italy what they had learned throughout their history.

Lastly, if you are wondering how Starbucks managed to get 25,000 sq ft right in the heart of Milan, they won the bid to take over the historic building that was a post office in the past. Given the lines out the door, I can see this being the start of a budding expansion.


I am currently a senior at the Robert H. Smith School of Business. I grew up in Potomac, Maryland. I am currently a Mergers and Acquisitions Transaction Services Consultant at Deloitte in New York City. I previously served on the Dean's Student Advisory Council and was the Vice President of Academics for the Smith Undergraduate Student Association. I am currently studying at Bocconi University in Milan, Italy.

You may also like...