Starbucks opened its first store in Medellín on September 1. I happened to be in El Poblado on this day so I had the opportunity to visit on its opening day.
The new Starbucks is located right next to the Krispy Kreme that opened in March. Starbucks is located in a new building in El Poblado along the Milla de Oro (Golden Mile). This is a short distance from the Papa John’s Pizza, which opened in September last year.
Starbucks reportedly worked with a range of local designers to capture the artistic, creative and modern spirit of Medellín in the new store. The new Medellín store was designed with an open, airy and welcoming layout, which includes community tables and an outdoor patio.
There was a short line at the new store in Medellín when I went on its first day. This was nothing like the line at the company’s first store in Colombia, which I understand on its opening day in 2014, had people waiting for hours in a line that stretched outside the door and along the street.
Starbucks originally entered the Colombian market back on July 14, 2014 with its first store in Bogotá. I happened to be in Bogotá two weeks after its first store in Colombia opened and I wrote about it on this website.
Starbucks now has 10 stores in Bogotá and the new Medellín store is its 11th in Colombia. The company plans to open five more stores in Medellín by the end of next year and 50 stores in Colombia by 2019
Starbucks’ business in Colombian market is a joint venture with Alsea and Grupo Nutresa. Alsea is a big restaurant operator in Latin America running several brands including Burger King, Domino’s Pizza and P.F Chang’s.
The Menu at Starbucks
The menu at the store includes Coffee, Espresso, Teas, Hot Chocolate and Frappuccino.
Black coffee (tinto) comes in four sizes ranging in prices from 3,600 pesos to 4,900 pesos.
An American Espresso costs 4,500 pesos for a small, 5,000 pesos for a medium and 5,400 pesos for a large.
Hot Chocolate costs 7,400 pesos for a small, 7,900 pesos for a medium and 8,500 pesos for a large.
Caramel Frappuccino costs 9,300 pesos for a small, 10,200 pesos for a medium and 10,900 pesos for a large.
Like most Starbucks the new store in Medellín has free Wifi. I saw several customers with computers in the store using the Internet.
Starbucks in Latin America
Starbucks is a massive company with over 23,000 retail stores located in 65 countries. The company has been in Latin America since 2002 starting out in Mexico and Puerto Rico. The company now has 1,000 stores in 13 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Starbucks opened its first store in Mexico 15 years ago and the company now has over 430 stores in Mexico.
Currently, Starbucks in Colombia reportedly generates 160 direct jobs. The projection for the company is to reach up to 1,000 jobs when its goal of 50 stores is completed by 2019.
The company expects that it will likely enter another city in Colombia next year. My bet is this likely will be in Cartagena.
Starbucks buys about 400 million pounds of coffee per year and more than half of that comes from Latin America, mainly from Colombia.
Starbucks claims its stores in Colombia serve 100 percent locally sourced and roasted coffee for in-store beverages to honor the country’s coffee heritage and the company’s 45-year history of sourcing premium arabica coffee from the region.
In Colombia, Starbucks competes with Juan Valdéz with over 200 stores in the country. Juan Valdéz has stores in 16 additional countries including the United States.
Juan Valdéz’s response to Starbucks’ initial store in Bogotá, Colombia was to open a café in downtown Miami. Juan Valdéz now has six cafés in Maimi and is looking to open more in South Florida.
Which U.S.-based Chain is Next for Medellín?
Medellín has several U.S.-based chain restaurants and fast food places including Burger King, Dunkin’ Donuts, Hard Rock Café, Hooters, McDonalds, Subway, KFC, Domino’s, Papa John’s, Krispy Kreme and now Starbucks.
Bogotá has many more U.S.-based chain restaurants that aren’t available yet in Medellín, including Pizza Hut, Chili’s, TGI Fridays, P.F. Changs and Taco Bell.
I suspect that we may see at least a couple more U.S.-based chains open locations in Medellín over the next few years, with these most likely being U.S.-based chains that are already operating in Bogotá.