Starbucks plans to open 150 stores in SA

Starbucks opened its first store in Rosebank last week.

FILE: The first store's opening received good reviews. Picture: Twitter @Starbucks.

JOHANNESBURG - US coffee chain Starbucks plans to open up to 150 stores in South Africa, founder and chief executive Howard Schultz said on Friday.

Starbucks, brought in under license by South Africa's Taste Holdings, opened its first store in Rosebank last week.

"I've never seen a line like this after a week of our opening," Schultz told journalists at the store.

Schultz says he plans to open a minimum of 15 to 18 stores in South Africa over the next year.

He says the company always wanted to open a branch in this country because the market for Starbucks is growing at a rapid rate.

He says despite economic challenges, he feels it's a great time for the company to invest in South Africa.

"We will make a significant investment in South Africa and I think also given the iconic stature of the Starbucks brand, it will probably serve as something emblematic for other Western brands and companies that are coming here."

The first store's opening received good reviews.

Sowetan entertainment editor Lesley Mofokeng said he was excited about the coffee giant's move to SA.

"I think it has brought my little piece of New York to Johannesburg. If the offering is the same as what you see in New York and London, with the Wi-Fi and the kind of laid back 'grab some coffee and do some work' environment; it will inject some excitement to people who want to come to Johannesburg."

Music producer Zakes Bantwini, who has had his fair share of Starbucks coffees, said the quick service in Starbucks stores was something worth noting.

"It's so quick, you order and in no time you receive your order. I think more than anything they are selling time."

Taste Holding said while the aim is to create a communal space, the coffee shop will hopefully include a drive-through as part of the quick service.

Additional reporting by Neo Koza.