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Starbucks plans expansion in Japan, adds new delivery partnership

The chain launches UberEats delivery and plans 300 new stores in the market

Starbucks is ramping up its growth in Japan with plans for hundreds of new stores as well as delivery and new mobile order and pay technology, the company said Thursday.

Starbucks plans to open 100 stores a year in Japan over the next three years, which would bring the chain’s unit count to 1,700 in the country, the company said. 

The company is also debuting a delivery program with UberEats at five locations across Japan on Nov. 9, as well as a pilot of its mobile order and pay program, to be launched in 2019. Beginning in the first half of 2019, the coffee chain will collaborate with Line, Japan’s major social network, to more easily streamline the introduction of digital payment technology across the country. 

Starbucks also announced plans to open a Reserve Roastery store in the upscale Nakameguro district of Tokyo, designed in collaboration with Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The Roastery will open to the public on February 28, 2019.

“We continue to thoughtfully evolve within Japan’s elevated coffee culture to maintain a leadership position and achieve profitable growth for the long-term,” Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ president and CEO, said in a press statement.

Starbucks initially announced its partnership with UberEats in September 2018, with more than 100 stores across the Miami area participating in the pilot program. In Japan, UberEats will initially launch at three stores in Tokyo, two in Shinjuku and one in Roppongi, with further expansion plans over the next two years.

Starbucks’ growth plans in Japan mirrors its emphasis on growth in China and elsewhere in Asia. In the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, the company’s net revenue grew 41 percent in the China and Asia Pacific region, including a 3 percent growth in same-store sales in Japan, the best of the last seven quarters. Earlier in November, Starbucks also announced the expansion of delivery in China, in partnership with Alibaba Group. 

“In Q4, Starbucks delivered improved sequential results in both our Americas and China/Asia Pacific segments,” Starbucks chief financial officer Scott Maw said at the time. “We also further set the stage for increased benefits from our ongoing efforts to streamline the company.”

Nation’s Restaurant News reached out to Starbucks for further comment.

Contact Joanna Fantozzi at [email protected] 

Follow her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi


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