The World's Biggest Starbucks Lands in Shanghai With Augmented Reality

Ivan Schwartz
December 6, 2017

On Tuesday, Starbucks opened the 30,000-square-foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai. Roastery customers are invited to immerse themselves in the first Starbucks augmented reality (AR) experience - accessible through the custom-designed Roastery digital web-app platform or on Alibaba's Taobao app.

"Chinese consumers, especially the younger generation, are looking for things more quality-driven, more unique, that speaks to who they are", said Jack Chuang, a Shanghai-based partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants who has studied the Chinese coffee market. Princi, famed for bakeries in Milan and London, joins the premium Starbucks Reserve brand as the exclusive food pairing to its rare, small-lot coffees.

"We've created a space that both recognizes and celebrates our 46-year history of coffee leadership and retail innovation with China's rich, diverse culture", Starbucks executive chairman Howard Schultz said. Yet the Reserve Roastery is quite unlike any of the existing 3,000 Starbucks stores throughout China, offering immersive coffee- and tea-focused experiences throughout multiple stories.

In order to target the upmarket coffee segment, Starbucks also plans to open more roastery cafes in New York, Tokyo and Italy.

The Roastery will also feature China's first Starbucks Teavana Bar, where customers can select a Teavana signature pure tea or blend, served either hot or iced.

A view of the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery during a press conference in Shanghai China Dec. 5 2017
A view of the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery during a press conference in Shanghai China Dec. 5 2017

Starbucks has more than 600 coffee shops in Shanghai, more than any other city in the world. Thus, Starbucks envisages making mainland China a vital market by opening 5,000 cafes there by 2021.

Take a look at the photos showing the state-of-the-art roastery, Starbucks will be boasting about for a long time.

China is Starbucks' fast-growing and most important overseas market.

Same-store sales at United States cafes were up 2% for the quarter ended 1 October, while sales in China were up 8%.

If that isn't enough technology for you, the roastery is also home to the world's first tea bar made up of 3D-printed recycled materials.

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