>> Starbucks and its global coffee empire have finally made a beachhead in a country that until now may have been a fortress, Italy. The American giant operates in 70 countries, but it took them three decades to get here. The world's fourth biggest haven of coffee drinkers and it's nice.
At least much more upscale than you typical neighbourhood Starbucks. That's for a reason. Coffee is a way of life here. They invented the expresso, a coffee and a pastry, a typical Italian breakfast. So there is some cultural bias in that for many Italians. Why should they drink from a foreign brand possibly perceived as inferior.
This woman told us she didn't even know what Starbucks was. And Italy's own big coffee names wanna keep it that way. Just last year Lavazza and Illy coffee opened their own flagships stores near the Milan shop, to remind Italians of who the local top dogs are. This is the man in charge of Starbucks's foreign holdings.
>> We are taking a very thoughtful and meaningful approach to how we enter this market. Our price will reflect the premium experience that we're gonna offer our customers. And we're very excited about that premium experience. It's a unique experience that we feel very proud of.>> Yeah, it's more expensive too, about $2 for an espresso, which is nearly double what Italians are used to.
But for Starbucks, this is also a symbolic move. Its founder, Howard Schultz, has long said that it was a trip to Italy in 1983 and the coffee culture here that inspired him to create Starbucks. The barman in this cafe not far from the Milan site says he's not scared of the competition though.
>> Probably a percentage of foreigners, tourists will go there. But with the type of work we have, they don't really frighten us.