November 22, 2023 – Over the years, Starbucks has grown from a small, local cafe in Seattle into a symbol of the ‘coffee routine’, i.e. a symbol of recognition among coffee lovers around the world. The green Starbucks sign can be found all over the globe – but not in the Balkans. Why exactly is there no Starbucks in Croatia?
As Jolie writes, Starbucks is definitely recognized as a coffee shop, that is, a franchise of coffee shops that delight visitors with their fine drinks, snacks, and sweets, as well as beautifully decorated spaces. From the opulent palaces where Starbucks is located today, to their mega-popular Pumpkin Spice Latte – this chain of coffee shops has a few trump cards up its sleeve to delight the international market. Why is there not a single branch present in this area then? The answer is simple – the coffee and coffee routine here are too good.
According to Starbucks management, when they were asked about expanding to the Balkans and Israel, they simply said they would not – because they doubt that their offer can compete with the local one. As it turns out, they doubt the success of their cafes in those areas.
As coffee in Europe and the Middle East undeniably has a great cultural significance, Starbucks thinks that there are still countries where locals prefer domestic coffee – and will not visit their branches. One of the more important segments of this thinking is the way in which people in the Balkans drink coffee – it can go on for hours. Such a concept of sitting down and drinking one or two small cups of coffee goes against the Starbucks philosophy – which is that coffee time is a time for work or a short break, if not just for picking up a cup of coffee to go.
The difference in habits, along with a large selection of coffee shops that specifically offer top-quality specialty coffee drinks to Croats, pushed Starbucks to stop considering Zagreb as its next destination for expansion.