TOKYO — New stores and digital innovation are on tap for Starbucks Japan as Starbucks Coffee Co. executes its recently unveiled growth strategy for the country. The moves are part of Starbucks’ commitment to “building deeper customer relationships, expanding digital innovation, enhancing Starbucks’ unique coffee experience and strengthening local communities” to accelerate sales and profit growth as well as elevate the customer experience in Japan, the company said.
“The strength of our brand in Japan, the momentum in our business and the spirit of our partners who proudly wear the green apron give me great confidence in our ability to elevate the customer experience and drive growth to continue to build our brand,” said Kevin Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Starbucks. “We continue to thoughtfully evolve within Japan’s elevated coffee culture to maintain a leadership position and achieve profitable growth for the long term.”
As part of its growth strategy, Starbucks plans to build 300 new stores in Japan over the next three years, an initiative that will bring the store count to 1,700 across the market.
Additionally, Starbucks will open its Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Tokyo on Feb. 28, 2019. Located in the Nakameguro district, the Tokyo location marks the company’s fifth Roastery globally.
“The Tokyo Roastery will be the first of its kind, designed and built from-the-ground-up in collaboration with world-renowned architect and Kuma Lab founder, Kengo Kuma,” Starbucks said. “The Roastery is the pinnacle coffee experience, highlighting Starbucks’ uncompromising pursuit of high-quality coffees and immersive retail innovation.”
Another piece of the puzzle in Starbucks’ growth plan for Japan is digital innovation. The company is launching its Starbucks Delivers program in partnership with Uber Eats Japan, which will deliver Starbucks beverages and food items direct to customers. The pilot program will begin in three stores in Tokyo, two in Shinjuku and one in Roppongi, with plans to scale the program within two years.
Starbucks also has teamed with LINE, a Japanese social media platform with more than 78 million users, to innovate across a range of technologies, including digital payment. The first phase of this partnership is expected to launch in the first half of 2019.
The company plans to roll out a pilot of the Mobile Order and Pay program in Japan in 2019. The program will enable Japanese customers to order and pay from mobile devices and pick up their orders in store.
“Starbucks Japan was built as a performance-driven company, guided through the lens of humanity, from the time of our first store opening in Tokyo in 1996,” said Takafumi Minaguchi, c.e.o. of Starbucks Japan. “We continue to set the pace for innovation and service for Starbucks globally by focusing on creating genuine human connection in our stores and positively impacting the communities we serve.”
Starbucks currently operates 1,392 stores in Japan across all 47 prefectures, making it the fourth largest market in terms of store count for Starbucks globally.