In Focus
TECHNOLOGY | Staff Reporter, Japan

Starbucks Japan eyes 1,700 stores by end of 2021

They also partnered with Uber Eats Japan and LINE in order to strengthen their digital services.

Starbucks is looking to ramp up its expansion in Japan, eyeing 1,700 stores by the end of 2021.

In an announcement, the coffee giant says they plan to build 100 net new stores annually over the next three years.

The chain’s business in Japan is their fourth largest in the world in terms of store count. It currently operates 1,392 stores in Japan across all 47 prefectures.

“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 Japan chief executive Takafumi Minaguchi said.

Further digital innovation
They also partnered with Uber Eats Japan to jumpstart their delivery services across Tokyo starting tomorrow, November 9. Starting with two stores in Shinjuku and one in Roppongi, it will expand to more cities in the next two years.

Starbucks also revealed its collaboration with LINE, in order to “innovate across various technologies”, including digital payment. The first phase of this endeavour is expected to launch in the first half of 2019 and is expected to connect the brand to LINE’s more than 78 million users across Japan.

Similar to the U.S. and select markets, Starbucks Japan will pilot their Mobile Order and Pay Services in 2019. This allows customers to order ahead and pay from their mobile device, then pick up their ordered items in store, skipping the line.

The coffee giant is also launching another Reserve Roastery in Tokyo on February 28, 2019. This will be the fifth of the said concept following its launch in Milan, Italy and is designed by architect Kengo Kuma.

Going strawless
Starbucks also mentioned their plans to have all of their outlets use strawless lids and alternative-material straws. The transition will start in their Reserve stores beginning in spring 2019.

By mid-2020, iced beverages served in all sites will be served with the strawless lids and Frappuccino Blended beverages with alternative-material straws.

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