France, home of the café allongé and the café au lait, is about to get a lot more American coffee coursing through its veins.
Starbucks (SBUX), announced a deal on Tuesday with Casino Restauration that will pave the way for a potentially major expansion in France, giving the cafe chain a bigger footprint in a market that has long resisted the filtered coffee Americans flock to.
Under the terms of the licensing partnership deal, Starbucks and Casino Restauration, a subsidiary of Groupe Casino, will open full-size and full-service Starbucks stores within Géant Casino Hypermarkets and Casino Supermarkets grocery stores across France, with the first location set to open by the end of 2015.
While Starbucks didn’t say how many cafés it planned to open under the partnership, the potential is huge: Groupe Casino runs 127 hypermarkets (i.e. a superstore) and 444 supermarkets in France. That could lead to a multiplication of its store count in France, a country of 65 million where Starbucks only has about 100 locations. (By contrast, there are 280 Starbucks cafes in New York City, which has 8.4 million people.) France is a relatively untapped market for Starbucks: its store fleet in the country represents a tiny fraction of its 2,200 cafes across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.
“This new partnership with Casino Restauration means we can deliver a quality Starbucks experience to many more people in convenient locations across France,” said Kris Engskov, president of Starbucks EMEA. “Casino Restauration has the perfect network and local expertise.”
France is a relatively untapped market for Starbucks: its store fleet in the country represents a tiny fraction of its 2,200 cafes across the Europe, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region.
While French consumers have often been seen as resistant to American food and beverage chains, they have a history of coming around and embracing them. A case in point is McDonald’s (MCD), which counts France as its largest European market.