What’s ahead for Starbucks growth and innovation? On December 7, the company outlined its five-year plan for strong global growth to an audience of investors at Starbucks Biennial Investor Conference in New York City.
1. Starbucks unveiled an innovative conversation ordering system, called My Starbucks Barista, powered by groundbreaking Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the Starbucks Mobile App. Customers will be able to place their orders via voice command or messaging interface. The AI feature will roll out first on iOS in limited beta in early 2017 and be made available to more iOS and Android users in subsequent releases.
2. Starbucks offers the largest mobile ecosystem of any retailer in the world, with more than 12 million Starbucks Rewards members, 8 million mobile paying customers (1 out of 3 use Mobile Order & Pay), and more than $6 billion loaded onto prepaid Starbucks Cards in North America during the past year alone.
3. Leadership in coffee is at the heart of Starbucks innovation. Born from the Seattle Roastery, Starbucks will introduce the Cascara Latte to customers nationwide in January. Made with the fruit of the coffee cherry, Cascara lends subtle notes of dark brown sugar and maple to classic Starbucks® Espresso.
4. A new breakfast option arrives in January of 2017 with the introduction of Sous Vide Egg Bites – a wheat-free, low calorie, high protein, convenient breakfast. That will be followed by the spring launch of a Certified Gluten-Free Breakfast Sandwich.
5. Expect more food innovation from Starbucks early in the year with the regional rollout of organic soups, expansion of Starbucks Bistro Box selections, and introduction of more fresh grab-and-go lunch choices – salads, sandwiches and desserts – made fresh and delivered to Starbucks stores daily.
6. New products showing up in the grocery aisles during the spring of 2017 include Bottled Starbucks® Cold Brew Cocoa and Honey with Cream in select markets in the U.S., and ready-to-drink (RTD) Teavana® Craft Iced Teas in partnership with Anheuser-Busch. The new RTD teas include Pineapple Berry Blue Herbal Tea, Peach Green Tea, Mango Black Tea and Passion Tango® Herbal Tea. Later in 2017, select flavors will be available in Starbucks stores too.
7. Starbucks global real estate teams and design offices are creating the most dynamic and immersive coffee retail experience for customers around the world. The most premium of these retail experiences are Roasteries. Since opening two years ago in Seattle, the Starbucks® Reserve Roastery has become recognized as the most dynamic and immersive coffee retail experience in the world. Starbucks will open its next Roastery in Shanghai in 2017, Tokyo and New York City in 2018, and a fifth location in Europe to be announced early next year.
8. Starbucks expects to have more than 37,000 stores by 2021. That’s an additional 12,000 new stores globally elevating the Starbucks Experience around the world. Some of these customer experiences will be Reserve stores. Starbucks Reserve® stores are a new retail format that will integrate the theater and romance of the Roastery with the unique culinary experience of the company’s new Italian food partner, Princi. Starbucks is also extending elements of the high-end Roastery experience to its core Starbucks stores by adding Starbucks Reserve® experience bars in up to 20 percent of its total portfolio.
9. Starbucks plans to open standalone Princi stores in Seattle, New York and Chicago by 2018. Rocco Princi, who opened his first bakery in Milan in 1986, expanded to five renowned Princi specialty stores over the years, and is now bringing his signature artisanal baked goods to all new Starbucks Roastery locations, including Shanghai and New York. In a place where the roasting and brewing of the world’s finest coffees takes center stage with small lot Starbucks Reserve coffees, the Roasteries are the perfect environment for Princi’s masterful creations.
10. China is the largest international market for Starbucks, with nearly 2,500 stores in 118 cities and more than 30,000 partners (employees). The company is opening over one store a day in China and remains on track to open more than 5,000 stores in China by 2021. Starbucks and Tencent also announced a strategic partnership to launch social gifting on WeChat in China.