"It's like Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka", said Emily Chang, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Starbucks China. Starbucks' scene-recognition software and AR experience is powered through a partnership with Alibaba Holding Group Ltd. The company already has over 600 stores in Shanghai - the largest number of stores in any city where Starbucks has a presence.
SHANGHAI | Starbucks has opened on Wednesday in Shanghai its more spacious facility world, at a time when the american giant intends to establish itself in China, a country where the consumption of coffee explodes after having always been confidential.
The cafe spans 2,700 square metres (30,000 square feet) - almost half the area of a soccer field - and is the company's second Starbucks Reserve Roastery, a larger type of store featuring premium coffees, teas, and coffee-infused beer along with a personalised barista service.
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However, the Shanghai Roastery is twice the size of the Seattle one. Once they hold their phone up to it, however, they can see inside the cask as newly roasted beans drop down inside - thanks to augmented reality.
The location has three coffee bars offering multiple brewing methods and some of the rarest small-lot coffees in the world, a Teavana tea "experience" bar, and freshly baked Italian artisanal food by Princi, Starbucks' exclusive Roastery food partner.
"We didn't want people to have to queue", said Jiang. It is the second Starbucks Roastery with Seattle opening the first in 2014.
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Roaming baristas on the floor can help customers create and place an order; they can pay on the spot and be digitally notified when their order is ready, along with the location where they can pick it up.
Zhao Fei, a paper trader, said drink prices running up to 78 yuan ($11.80) for some coffees would scare off many Chinese customers. "With AR, we are able to go beyond educating, enabling and engaging, to empowering our customers to experience the space on their own terms", said Chang. And on a pure design level, Shanghai Roastery is a wow.
Chairman Howard Schultz told Bloomberg News on Tuesday ahead of the store's opening that China was on course to become the company's largest market in less than a decade. "They can bring the Starbucks Roastery home with them, to continue enjoying and even share the experience with others". One of the key features of the store is the ceiling, which is made of 10,000 handmade wooden hexagon-shaped tiles, inspired by the locking of an espresso shot on an espresso machine.
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Alibaba's online marketplace, Tmall, can also be used to further extend the shopping experience at Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai. Created from recycled materials using a 3-D printer and 25-ft.in length, the tea bar is a light jade color with dark shadows to represent tea stains formed in a teapot over time.
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