High operating costs and tight customer budgets have left US coffee giant Starbucks needing a caffeine hit after it abandoned ambitious expansion plans in South Africa – seen as a foothold for the continent. Starbucks looked set to take the country by storm when the opening of its first store in the Rosebank district of Johannesburg in April 2016 attracted big crowds who queued for hours to taste their famous coffee and enjoy the cafe experience. "We thought they were going to run out of coffee before we could get a chance to taste it," Irshaan Mohammed, who is still a loyal customer at the flagship store, told AFP. "We couldn't believe how many people had actually come here." Mohammed, 23, said he loved "choosing ingredients and hanging out" at Starbucks, but "when it comes to my bill I always worry that I am paying too much." Local licensee Taste Holdings has opened 12 Starbucks cafes across Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban. It had hoped to have 45 stores open by 2020 – with a pe...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, ProfileData financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00. Got a subscription voucher? Redeem it now