The World’s biggest Starbucks opens its doors in Shanghai
Seattle, Washington, 1971. Three old university pals have an idea. English teacher Jerry Baldwin, history teacher Zev Siegl, and writer Gordon Bowker are inspired to sell high quality, freshly roasted coffee beans and other coffee roasting equipment. Together, they open a small coffee store in Seattle’s Pike Place Market. The first Starbucks is born.
Fast forward to the present day and that humble, narrow little storefront has now become a household name, with more than 27,000 stores worldwide baring the iconic green mermaid logo. In fact, the coffee behemoth is currently the third largest fast food chain in the world when measured by store numbers, eclipsed only by McDonald’s and Subway.
Starbucks’ worldwide success is especially illustrated in China, where a new store opens every 15 hours, making China Starbucks’ fastest growing market. A prime example of this growth and success in the region is the opening of the brand new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai just a few days ago. Oh, and did we mention it’s the largest Starbucks on the planet?
The new store sits nestled on the famous Nanjing Road – one of the world’s busiest shopping streets, and plans to serve between up to 7,000 customers a day. Starbucks have gone so far as to call it their “largest, most beautiful location in the world,” in an official press release. And they aren’t kidding, at nearly 2,700 square metres, the massive store takes up an impressive amount of real estate. It is so big in fact, that it’s twice the size of the flagship Reserve Roastery in Seattle, and takes up the equivalent space of 40 average New York City apartments.
The store is home to three “coffee experience bars” – one of which is the longest Starbucks coffee bar in the world at 26.9 metres long. The design of each of the coffee experience bars at the Shanghai Roastery have been inspired by the unique roasting curve of individual coffee beans, and have been handcrafted by leading Chinese artisans.
Starbucks has been in China for more than 18 years, and now has 3,000 stores spread out across 136 of the nation’s cities. 600 of which are in Shanghai, making it the city with largest concentration of stores in the world. The new Roastery pays homage to this longstanding connection with China by implementing some unique design features throughout the store which have been specially created in China, for China, and will never be repeated anywhere, according to Starbucks.
These design features include a ceiling made up of “10,000 handmade wooden hexagon-shaped tiles inspired by the locking of an espresso shot on an espresso machine.” As well as a two-story, four-ton copper cask which connects the three coffee bars, and is decorated with more than a thousand traditional Chinese chops and stamps, all of which have been hand-engraved to narrate the origin story of Starbucks and its Reserve coffee.
Not merely a coffee lover’s dream, the new Roastery will also be home to the first Princi bakery and café location in Asia, bringing together over 30 top quality Chinese bakers and chefs working in harmony to bake more than 80 unique menu items fresh onsite daily. The perfect compliment to your dark roast.
Perhaps the most exciting element of the new Roastery will be its implementation of Starbucks’ first ever in-store Augmented Reality experience, making it the first of its kind in China. Powered by Alibaba, the augmented reality experience will seamlessly integrate in-store and online customer experience in real time. Patrons will be able to use their smartphones as magic wands to interact with the store by simply pointing their devices at various key features in the store, subsequently bringing to life an AR tour guide.
The new store will be open from 7 a.m. – 1 a.m. daily, and will be the only Starbucks in China to serve alcohol. Craft beers, wine, and spirits can be found at the upstairs bar, making the new Shanghai Starbucks Roastery the perfect spot for a morning pick me up, or a cheeky evening refresher. The new coffee wonderland is open now, so pop in and experience the fresh roasted magic for yourself.
Shanghai Starbucks Reserve Roastery
789 Nanjing Road West in Shanghai