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Starbucks drive-through is coming to a city near you

The global coffee chain aims to enter smaller cities in the coming months

Tata Starbucks has ambitious expansion plans for India. (Photo: Dom J, Pexels)

On Monday, Tata Starbucks announced its ambitious expansion plans for India. It entered the country in 2012 as a joint venture between Starbucks and Tata Consumer Products and now runs 233 outlets across 19 cities.

A Reuters story published on Monday reported that Sunil D’Souza, CEO of Tata Consumer Products said that both the partners "are driving Tata Starbucks to be far more aggressive in store openings, new formats, and in entering new cities.” They plan to introduce smaller sized outlets as they can be opened quickly. They are also experimenting with concepts like drive-throughs after opening one in north India last year, added D’Souza.

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Tata Starbucks has large-format stores in cities like Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, with a focus on interiors. They have an inviting feel to welcome guests who work out of their cafes and spend hours there. The first store in India is expansive and occupies an area of 4,500 square feet. It’s located at the Elphinstone Building, Horniman Circle, Mumbai. The cafe and the heritage neighbourhood is a popular location for films, ads and photoshoots. Those involved in filming queue up outside the washroom of the cafe for a change of clothes in-between shoots. Over a period of time, it got so crowded that the cafe had to put up a notice saying that its washrooms cannot be used for changing clothes.

With their expansion plans, the coffee chain is perhaps aiming for more takeaways. Tata Starbucks store openings did not slow down in the pandemic. Last year they introduced 39 new stores and entered seven new markets, which was the highest number of store opening in a single year, reported a CNBC story titled Tata Starbucks opens 39 new stores during COVID times; says dine-in and delivery on the rise.

The Reuters story, Starbucks eyes faster India expansion with new store formats, pointed out that the coffee behemoth clocked in 128% revenue growth in the quarter ending September, during which it opened 14 new outlets. D’Souza was reported as saying, “Am I happy with 14? Absolutely not. The target's much more.”

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