BY farah khalfe 2 MINUTE READ

Yesterday, famous American coffeehouse Starbucks launched the first of eight new stores it plans to open in Cape Town from mid-November to mid-December.

The store opening took place at the Canal Walk branch in Cape Town – soon to be followed by Camps Bay, Stellenbosch, Cavendish Square, the V&A Waterfront and Tygervalley Shopping Centre. Stores will also open at Castle Gate Mall in Pretoria and in Rosebank in Johannesburg.

With a modern and sleek design, relaxed seating and work stations set up with charging and electrical ports, the brand encourages patrons to spend prolonged periods inside the store – and think of it as a communal work and social space.

Amid a tumultuous year for brands across the globe, Starbucks is proud to have pulled off its against-the-odds investment into the country. Adrian Maizey, owner and CEO of Rand Capital Coffee, the custodian of Starbucks in Southern Africa, says that as a born and bred South African, he’s excited about the major investment into the country, as well as the significant job creation during tough economic conditions, both through employment opportunities at the new stores, and new business for contractors and sub-contractors who are fitting and equipping the eight stores.

“Starbucks is an iconic global brand, and when the opportunity arose to expand it into my home country, particularly as this is one of few remaining scalable regions where Starbucks is yet to have a strong presence, I grabbed the chance,” adds Maizey.

However, the brand faces a challenge of winning over the increasingly discerning Capetonian and South African coffee market – who are spoilt for choice with some of the world’s most high-quality coffee right on their doorstep.

“We need to better inform the public about all that Starbucks has to offer. We have something for just about everyone – and by sharing the brand offering, ethos and culture, we know that this market will understand it, enjoy it, and embrace it.”

For its opening weekend in the Mother City, Starbucks wants to spoil new customers with an exclusive experience.

Instead of queuing to be among the first to experience Starbucks in the city, Capetonians will be able to book their slot for the opening weekend at one of the four new stores,” says

Maizey. On arrival, pre-booked guests will be welcomed into what is known as the ‘third place’, an environment where everyone is welcome and can gather to share great coffee and deepen the human connection.

A Starbucks partner, as their baristas are known, will share an overview of how Starbucks achieves its mission of inspiring and nurturing the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighbourhood at a time, providing a better understanding of the craftsmanship and ethical sourcing that goes into each beverage. After placing their order, customers can browse the merchandise or chat to the team to find out more about the brand.

In addition, Starbucks is giving away merchandise including tote bags and pop sockets as well as mini bags of coffee to the first customers to pre-book their opening experience.

To book your experience, simply visit http://ct.starbucks.co.za/.

Pre-bookings are only available for the opening weekends at Canal Walk (19 – 22 November), Cavendish Square (28 & 29 November), Tyger Valley (5 December) and V&A Waterfront (10 to 13 December). Also opening in December is Starbucks at FreshX Stellenbosch on 12 December and Starbucks Camps Bay on 15 December.