Starbucks is a well-known coffee company, not just in America, but also throughout the world. Their mission statement is “to inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.” As of December 28, 2014, there were 21, 878 total stores worldwide spread across 67 countries.
While in Beijing, I was able to go to a Starbucks. Like many other foreign brands in China, there was both the English name “Starbucks” as well as the Chinese translation followed by the famous green and white logo. I thought that my overall experience at Starbucks was very similar to the service I receive at any Starbucks in America. However, once I placed my order, the barista was very efficient in preparing my drink. Also, like any other Starbucks in various cities, this one had Beijing Starbucks mugs and tumblers.
Some differences that I noticed included the size and pricing of the drinks. Asia as a whole is known to have smaller portions, and Starbucks was no exception. Despite having originated in America, the portion sizes were very small. A venti drink in China is around the equivalent of a grande drink in America. Also, despite the smaller portion sizes, the prices were more expensive than the price of a drink at a Starbucks in America (when converting Yuan to U.S. dollars). Another difference that I noticed was in the taste of my drink. It did not taste like my usual iced coffee. I think that this difference is due to the type of coffee bean used. Starbucks buys their coffee from Latin America, Africa and Asia, selecting the highest quality of beans. I think that the Starbucks coffee that is usually brewed in America uses beans that are from Latin America just because geographically it is much closer. However, I think that in Beijing, they use the coffee beans from farms in Asia. I think that the geographic location where the beans were cultivated makes a slight difference in taste. Lastly, I was a little surprised to see that American Starbucks Gold Cards are not accepted in China. However, after talking to one of the tour guides, Starbucks in China has a similar reward system to the gold card membership. After purchasing 10 drinks, you will receive one free drink or snack. This way, Starbucks continues to promote brand loyalty by incentivizing their customers to return. Nonetheless, I thought that this was very interesting because Starbucks is an international company, however I do understand that the currency exchange rate and regulations of each country could complicate a gold card membership that worked at any Starbucks location around the world.
Overall, I was very impressed by the Starbucks and how similar it was to the Starbucks locations throughout America. I have provided pictures from my experience at the Beijing Starbucks as well as a link to an article that discusses Starbucks’ success in China.