SEATTLE — Starbucks Corp. is restructuring its operations in Europe, announcing plans to give its longtime Latin America business partner, Alsea SAB de CV, rights to open and operate Starbucks locations in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg. Additionally, Starbucks said it intends to introduce a new support structure at its head office in London to better serve an increasingly licensed strategy.
“We’re very pleased to build on our 16-year history with Alsea, a long-term strategic partner to Starbucks, with the intention to license our business operations in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg,” said John Culver, group president, Starbucks International, Channel Development and Global Coffee & Tea. “These strategic moves would enable us to further accelerate growth across these markets as we position Starbucks for long-term success moving forward.”
Starbucks’ relationship with Alsea dates back to 2002, when the two companies partnered to open Starbucks’ first store in Mexico City. Sixteen years later, Alsea operates more than 900 Starbucks locations in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay.
“Through the years, we have learned how to successfully bring the Starbucks experience to diverse consumers in several countries; we have a deep understanding of the company’s values as well as the critical relationship between barista and customer, which results in the unique and powerful connection that makes Starbucks a preferred brand,” said Renzo Casillo, managing director of Alsea. “We plan to do the same in these geographies leveraging the talent and scale that we have built in the region. We are honored and thankful to Starbucks leadership for trusting Alsea with this important opportunity. We look forward to finalizing our discussions and working in close partnership with the European team to bring long-term profitable growth.”
Starbucks has been in Europe since 2004, when it opened its first Paris store. The company entered the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg between 2008 and 2016 and now operates more than 260 stores across the four countries.
In addition to handing off its European operations to Alsea, Starbucks said it plans to restructure its back-office support functions. The restructuring will be carried out in a way that Starbucks believes will create “a more impactful team that draws on global best practices to support licensees in optimizing operations.”
As part of the restructuring, Starbucks said it will introduce a new support center structure in its head office in London but will close its support center in Amsterdam. The company plans to continue to operate its manufacturing facility in Amsterdam, which roasts and packages Arabica coffee for EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa).
“This new structure will be the culmination of a long and thoughtful process to simplify our organization so that it can best service our increasingly licensed store market strategy while continuing to embed our mission and values in how we operate every day,” said Martin Brok, president, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Starbucks.
Starbucks’ decision to restructure in Europe comes just a few weeks after Kevin R. Johnson, the company’s CEO, announced plans to make “significant changes” to the company’s organizational structure in the United States.