Starbucks opens 100th store in Beijing

BEIJING — Starbucks has opened its 100th store in Beijing, and has announced the launch of Starbucks China University, its talent development program.

China will be the coffee retailer’s second largest market by 2014 and will have 1,500 stores by 2015 across more than 70 cities.

“China is a focal point of our global expansion efforts and we are proud to bring this unique store, staffed by all partners certified as Coffee Masters, to our customers here in Beijing and further demonstrate our espresso leadership,” said Belinda Wong, president, Starbucks China. “Beijing is where we started our journey in China, opening our first store in 1999 and we are proud to now operate 100 stores across the city and more than 700 throughout Mainland China.”

The new store location, whose art nouveau design concept draws focus on environmental sustainability, is located at the Solana International Business District in Beijing. It is staffed by all Starbucks Coffee Masters, baristas who have completed a rigorous certification process as well as an intensive coffee skills and knowledge training.

“Our passion and pursuit for high-quality arabica coffee is how we have built our company and the Starbucks brand the past 41 years,” added Wong. “Our partners are at the heart of everything we do in our stores in China, and the certified Coffee Masters leading this store will introduce customers to even more unique elements of the espresso experience, demonstrating and defining our coffee leadership position in China.”

To become a Coffee Master, partners undergo a vigorous training and skills examination, acquiring coffee knowledge spanning from coffee history, geography, agriculture to coffee sourcing, green coffee bean quality control and Starbucks coffee roasting and blending. Starbucks Coffee Masters renew their certifications regularly.

The coffee retailer also launched the Starbucks China University, a virtual university whose curriculum will advance the personal and career development of Starbucks partners across China. The curriculum will include leadership skills and provide students with an understanding of Starbucks coffee craftsmanship and culture.

“Our partners are at the heart and soul of our signature Starbucks Experience, and also the cornerstone of Starbucks success. It is therefore critical that Starbucks continues to invest in their development, share with them the company’s success and set them up for future growth and development,” Wong added. “These investments are critical as we work to achieve our ambitious goals and future aspirations in China.”

Starbucks China University will also offer training curriculums that encompass a broad range of areas and functions of the Starbucks China business, including coffee knowledge and culture training, and provide tailor-designed curriculums on retail and related functional training as well as leadership competency.

Through the university, Starbucks will conduct more than 200 different training modules, from now through the end of 2015, at various levels through the organization. Starbucks China University is also looking to collaborate with academic institutions and related Chinese government agencies to strengthen its value proposition and offerings in the market.