After single-handedly popularizing the cafe around the world over the course of the past four-and-a-half decades, colossal coffee store chain Starbucks revealed plans on Sunday to make a prodigal return to the heartland of the cafe, Italy. It was back in the ’80s when Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz was inspired by Italy’s espresso culture while there on a business trip, subsequently bringing the drink back to the U.S. where it immediately took off. However, while coffee is fundamental to Italian culture, it very much remains an on-the-go affair, whereas Starbucks’ model advocates a third space where customers can relax or work for extended periods of time. As such, Starbucks has said that it is entering the market “with humility and respect,” and will leave the operation of its Italian stores to licensee Percassi, which will also own said stores. Aside from Italy, Starbucks also intends to grow its presence in China, with plans to open an additional 3,400 cafes there by 2019.
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