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Starbucks’ Willy Wonka-inspired Roastery coming to Tokyo


CEO Howard Schultz announced that the coffee giant would open its fourth Willy Wonka-inspired Roastery in Tokyo in 2018.

The Tokyo Roastery, which will be located in the upscale Nakameguro district, will be 13,000 square feet. The space will be designed by Kengo Kuma, an architect who has previously collaborated with Starbucks to create one of its most creative and striking locations to date.

Like all future Roastery locations, the Tokyo Roastery will have a fully-integrated bakery operation, thanks to Starbucks’ recent partnership with Italian artisanal bakery Pinci. As more Roasteries open, each will have distinct aspects that set it apart.

Brand-boosting in upscale locales

The Tokyo Roastery represents two major trends happening at Starbucks: the increasing importance of brand-boosting, upscale locations and the growth in Asia.

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As Starbucks opens more Roasteries, the chain is also working on scaled-down versions of the mega-stores. The chain plans to open roughly 500 to 1,000 Reserve stores, which offers premium Roastery beverages and artisanal Princi food , over time. In the next year, Starbucks plans to open 1,000 stores with Reserve Bars, which will serve drinks made in a wider variety of styles such as pour-over and siphoning.

Aggressive China expansion

Starbucks’ exploration of super-premium branding isn’t restricted to the US. While it is notable that half of its currently planned Roasteries will be located in Asia, the move is unsurprising looking at the chain’s growth in the region, especially in China.

Today, Starbucks has more than 6,200 locations in the Asia Pacific region. That includes 2,300 locations in China, compared to 400 stores in 2011. The company plans to reach 5,000 stores in China — where it is currently opening a new store roughly every day — by 2021.

However, with the Shanghai and Tokyo Roasteries, as well as business in Asia more broadly, Starbucks is careful not to assume what works in Seattle will succeed in China and Japan.