Monday 17 June 2024
  • La Cimbali

Five years of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan, Louise Mills, Director & GM: “We’ll continue to be a very innovative company”

The Director & General Manager Starbucks ReserveTM Roastery Milano: “It’s something magical. I can’t believe that these five years have gone by so quickly: they have been peculiar years with the pandemic in the middle, and it’s wonderful to see the Roastery alive as it is today, or having the opportunity for customers to come in and enjoy what we’ve created 5 years ago."

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MILAN – On 7 September, the Starbucks ReserveTM Roastery Milano celebrated five years since its arrival in Italy: a moment that was epochal for the American coffee chain, which waited no less than 40 years to land in the country where it all began.

Difficult years for sure, and not only because of the feared challenge of the strong espresso tradition, but also because of the outbreak of the pandemic.

We talked about this success, between challenges and satisfactions, with Louise Mills, Director & General Manager Starbucks ReserveTM Roastery Milano.

A first reaction to this important milestone: what is it like to celebrate five years since the opening of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery today?

“It’s something magical. I can’t believe that these five years have gone by so quickly: they have been peculiar years with the pandemic in the middle, and it’s wonderful to see the Roastery alive as it is today, or having the opportunity for customers to come in and enjoy what we’ve created 5 years ago.

Seeing the movement of roasted coffee beans around the store and enjoying unique beverages in a space like this is something really special.”

How has it been to manage this place during the years of the pandemic and now the consequences of the russian-ukrainian conflict and the inflation

“I think that what makes Starbucks a very special place is how we take care of the people that we call partners.

Gimoka

During the pandemic, we did everything we could to keep them with us, so that they would return once the outbreak would be over: we were in it together as a family.

About 70% of the people who were hired at this Roastery 5 years ago are still here. Many have stayed with us and helped in the opening stages of new stores operated by Percassi in other cities in Italy.“

Can we say that these first 5 years of Starbucks in Italy have been a success ?

“They were a fantastic opportunity: we have welcomed millions of people, including Italians and foreigners, to what is the only Starbucks Reserve Roastery in EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and we have forged and strengthened important partnerships, which we cherish.

These are partnerships that we intend to continue. And I’m sure other opportunities will open up in the future as well.

As happened this year with Milano Fashion Week, both in February, when we launched the Oleato beverage line, and in September, to celebrate Women’s Fashion Week.

It really is a magical time.”

If you imagine the next 5 years of the Starbucks ReserveTM Roastery Milano, what would you see?

“I think of the last five years we just spent. We will continue to be a very innovative company, experimenting with new drinks and exploring new coffees for customers here in Italy and internationally.

This is very important to us.”

Are there more Italian customers or international ones?

“We have a lot of international tourists that come here because they want to visit Milan.

According to data from the Milan Chamber of Commerce there were  1milion more tourists then in 2019 in July. So yes of course, we get a lot of them.

But we also have a lot of regular customers, people who come to us for meetings or visit us regularly.

The most popular drink is espresso, but drinks such as cold brews have also become popular, a trend, and people are curious to try them”

If you were to mention the main difficulty you have encountered in these five years, what would you name?

“Not being able to operate the beating heart of this space, not being able to roast coffee. Psychologically it was also difficult, the Roastery just wasn’t the same place. That was the most challenging moment.”

What do you expect from now on?

“What we expect now is to be able to continue with our partnerships here in Italy and to make the Roastery an increasingly experiential space. We want to use the space to celebrate coffee and be together.

The workshops we will be holding here to celebrate Starbucks’ fifth anniversary in Italy are designed to do just that: to demonstrate how we can bring together coffee, mixology, music and books to celebrate all that coffee means here in Italy.”

If you have to compare to other six Starbucks Reserve Roastery in the world?

“They are all designed by the same designer, but they are very different in terms of look & feel.

Our interiors were made using all-Italian materials, thanks to our supplier partners who made it possible.

It was very important to us that everything was related to the Italian coffee history, culture, and experience. Of course, I think ours is the most beautiful – Louise Mills jokes – But each of the six is really unique.”

CIMBALI

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