New York (CNN Business) Starbucks is about to open its biggest Roastery in the world in Tokyo. Roasteries — large, lavish Starbucks stores that feature specialty coffees and teas, on-premise roasters and massive coffee casks where freshly roasted beans are held — are a way to “celebrate the romance of coffee,” CEO Kevin Johnson told CNN Business.
The 32,000-square-foot Tokyo Roastery will open to the public on Thursday morning. It overtakes the one in Shanghai as the biggest Starbucks on the planet. The company has just three others, in Seattle, Milan and New York City.
After Tokyo, Starbucks plans to open one more Roastery, in Chicago.
Roasteries are designed to solve a problem all retailers face: How to make the in-store experience unique and exciting enough to lure in customers. Starbucks is also using the Roasteries to test out design concepts and menu items — and to double down on its promise of offering a “third place” between home and work, even as it focuses on speed and convenience elsewhere.