Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX) today announced a new licensing agreement with its long-time strategic partner Alsea, a leading restaurant operator in Latin America and Spain. The agreement grants Alsea the exclusive rights to develop and operate Starbucks® stores in Uruguay, with the first store set to open in early 2018 in Montevideo. Starbucks and Alsea have worked together since 2002, now serving millions of customers in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia in 841 Starbucks® stores and employing more than 10,500 Starbucks partners (employees). Uruguay will become the fifth market in this partnership, and Starbucks 18th market in the Latin America and Caribbean region.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Starbucks Experience to customers in Uruguay – a critical emerging market as we continue our expansion across South America,” said Ricardo Rico, general manager and vice president for Starbucks Latin America. “As we position the brand for continued growth, Alsea continues to be an invaluable strategic partner in the region as we pursue disciplined and profitable growth in a way that celebrates local cultures and coffee traditions.”
Alsea, a leading restaurant operator of global brands in the quick service, coffee shop, casual and family dining segments, has a diversified portfolio including Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Chili’s, California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s, Italianni’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Vips, El Portón, Archie’s, Foster’s Hollywood, LAVACA and Cañas y Tapas. The company operates more than 3,200 stores and has more than 67,000 employees in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Spain. The new agreement with Starbucks also represents Alsea’s first foray into Uruguay, representing a critical business opportunity in a new South American market.
“I am pleased to announce the entry of Alsea into a new market such as Uruguay, which allows us to continue with our solid growth strategy, reinforcing the presence of our brands in the region,” said Federico Tejado, Chief Executive Officer of Alsea International. “We will build on our knowledge of the Starbucks brand, which we have operated for 15 years now and of which we currently have 841 stores operating in four countries.”
For more than 45 years, Starbucks has built its brand by delivering a consistent, authentic in-store experience to customers around the globe that is rooted in high-quality arabica coffee and engaged, knowledgeable baristas. Since launching the brand in Latin America, Starbucks has grown to over 1,100 stores employing more than 13,000 partners (employees) across 16 markets, 15 of which are operated by trusted licensing partners. Starbucks will open next in Jamaica in the fall of 2017, and Uruguay in early 2018.