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Starbucks Fruppacino

First SA Starbucks store opens this week!

Situated on the corner of Tyrwhitt and Cradock avenues in a 485m2 space, the full-service store will serve coffee sourced from Africa as well as other special Reserve coffees from around the world.

Pricing remains under wraps, although an accurate menu sans prices is currently on the local Starbucks site.

A second branch is set to open later in the month at The Mall of Africa in Midrand.

The Rosebank store doors will open on Thursday 21 April from 7.30am to 10pm. From 22 April onwards, Starbucks will open slightly earlier, at 6.30am.

Speculation on pricing

Few overseas chains and brands are capable of capturing attention (and hype) quite like the world’s most well-known coffee company. The conversation has quickly shifted to what South Africans will be paying for their coffee.

Here Hilton Tarrant, writing for, speculates…

The chatter – particularly on social media – goes something like this:

“Last time I was in London/San Francisco/Dubai, I paid £2.60/$4*/AED17 for a Grande (medium) Caffè Latte, which means Starbucks is going to cost R54/R58/R67 here! That’s insane/madness/still worth it!” (The conversions above are actual calculations against real prices at stores in those three cities).

The problem with this crude calculation method of course, is that this is not the way prices are set by global chains, with or without local partners/master licensees.

Taste Holdings, which has a 25-year licence agreement (including renewals) with the Seattle-based coffee giant has said that “product pricing will be aligned with that of current premium offerings” in the local market.

Of course, Starbucks pricing will be in line with what it charges globally, as it told the Mail & Guardian, but it will be comparable with our purchasing power (as well as the pricing of offerings from other global food brands in this market).

Taste did not price Domino’s Pizza – which it brought to the country in 2014 – at the equivalent of what you’d pay in London – £14.99 for one of its relatively ‘basic’ large pizzas.

So, what can we expect to pay for our Lattes, Mochas, Cappuccinos and Frappuchinos?

A good comparison would be Woolworths’ W Café pricing….

A ‘Tall’ Latte sets you back R26, while a ‘Grande’ is R30. Cappuccinos are a little cheaper at R24 and R28 for the same sizes. Mochas are a little pricier at R28 and R32.

The prices at W Café are not dissimilar from those at Seattle Coffee Co. or Vida e Caffe, although the latter has a more limited coffee menu.

Where Starbucks excels – go stand in any store globally – is in the upsell. Origin Espresso is 20p, an extra shot of espresso is 40p and flavoured syrup and whipped cream are also each 40p.

Woolworths (and most coffee chains, for that matter) has a similar pricing structure, with ‘Fairtrade-certified coffee’ and cream at an extra R4 each (and soya milk at an extra R5). Syrups are a similar price.

We can expect Starbucks’ local pricing to be very similar.

Location of more stores?

Far more interesting than pricing is where Starbucks will actually open stores. We know the location of the first two: Rosebank (not quite at the Mall, but more than close enough) and at the Mall of Africa on April 28 .

The Rosebank location is smart. It’s on the corner of Tyrwhitt and Cradock, sort of diagonally across from the FNB. That’s right “next door” to both the Mall of Rosebank and the Zone. And, crucially, it’s perfect for the hordes of commuters heading to the various head offices in the mornings (and back home in the afternoons).

Next on the list is, surely, Sandton. The V&A Waterfront must also be right up there, but you’d imagine the plan would be to get Gauteng ‘right’ first.

What Starbucks is – thanks to an immensely powerful brand – is a destination in its own right. People will take a detour (often more than slight) to get their fix. And I’m talking about general or typical trading, not the queuing craziness that perpetuates after the opening of one of these brands (remember the never-ending queues at both Burger King and Krispy Kreme?)

Taste has announced plans to open 15 stores in the next two years (at a cost of R120 million), which is an exceptionally modest target. It sees appetite for at least 150 outlets in the country, which is more than the number of Vida outlets in the country (around 100, largely dotted across Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban)….. Read the full article