Starbucks reiterates premium focus with historic Kyoto café
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Starbucks reiterates premium focus with historic Kyoto café

Starbucks is the dominant force in the global coffee house market, and it’s future may well be tied up with offering premium products in premium settings. This reflects a forward-looking ethos that the company has profited from in the past: it understood the power of digital and Ecommerce, leveraging both in ways its rivals couldn’t dream of. It gets Millennial’s preoccupation with ethical and environmental issues, and has become a cheerleader on both counts. Now, it understands that luxury is increasingly about experiences, not things.

Even considering all the above, you may be shocked at Starbucks’ latest café, which is probably its most beautiful, and certainly its most historic. Opened on June 30 in Japan’s ancient capital of Kyoto, the café is set inside a renovated townhouse that was once used to host geisha. The town house is located in Ninen-zaka, one of Kyoto’s historically protected streets.

Although the property has undergone renovation, it has managed to retain many of the traditional features that make the area unique. Locally made kimono silk scrolls decorate the walls, a traditional garden includes stone water basins and sculptures, and customers sit on cushions and tatami mats, shoeless, as is Japanese traditional custom.

Takafumi Minaguchi, CEO of Starbucks Coffee Japan, told CNN:

“Walking through the noren at the entrance and venturing inside, we want customers to experience a feeling of being inside a traditional Kyoto machiya wooden townhouse. As this store is in an area of great cultural significance, we feel a responsibility to be the stewards of the building’s traditional architecture and ensure that it remains an integral part of its historic neighbourhood for many years to come.”


Dominion holds Starbucks in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.

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