This announcement follows an MoU between Tata Coffee and Starbucks a year ago which discussed exploring the possibility of launching retail outlets in India.
Starbucks is already sourcing coffee from India, via the Tata Group, explained a Starbucks spokesperson in a phone call with Campaign. Starbucks and Tata Coffee also signed a separate agreement under which Tata Coffee will supply roast coffee to Tata Starbucks Ltd and export to the Starbucks Coffee Company.
The retail stores are expected to launch this year, starting with stores in Delhi and Mumbai.
The New York Times reports that a senior Tata executive said at a news conference that the venture could open 50 stores by the end of the year and eventually grow to 3,000 outlets.
While most associate India with tea, coffee consumption there has surged in the past decade. The Coffee Board of India estimates that consumption exceeded 100,000 metric tonnes in 2011. In 1991, domestic coffee consumption was about half that, at 55,000 tonnes.
A relative latecomer to the market, Starbucks will be competing with the dominant local player, Café Coffee Day, which already has more than 1,200 outlets throughout India. Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Lavazza of Italy also have outlets.
“The joint venture with Starbucks is in line with Tata Global Beverages’ strategy of growing through strategic alliances in addition to organic and inorganic growth,” said R K Krishnakumar, vice-chairman, Tata Global Beverages.
Starbucks doesn't have an advertising agency specifically for Asia-Pacific. Its lead agency in the US is BBDO.