In 2018, Starbucks opened its first location in Italy, a 25,000-square-foot Milan roastery. Despite being influenced by the coffeehouse culture of Italy, the American chain encountered opposition upon entering the country.
It took 47 years for Starbucks to open a store in Italy. The Italian coffee culture is rich in traditions, customs, and rituals. In contrast to Starbucks shops, where customers may sit for a while to work on their laptops, it is common to order an espresso, consume it quickly at the counter while chatting with the barista, and leave.
When Starbucks announced its formal plans to open in Milan, some local residents disapproved and a small group of protesters set fire to the palm trees Starbucks had planted in Piazza del Duomo.
Starbucks stated in a statement, “Our intention for this project has always been to show our respect and gratitude to Milan, which has inspired us so much over the years.”
To ensure a smooth transition into uncharted territory, the company collaborated with an Italian brand manager and other local companies.
Starbucks has defied the odds in Italy despite the obstacles and is even planning to expand.