Ratan Tata's grace and wisdom moved me: Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz

Nov 19 2013, 22:23 IST
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"I could sit and listen to Ratan Tata for days on end. He has so much wisdom and insight not only about India but about the world," Starbucks CEO Howard Schulz said. AP
SummaryStarbucks CEO Howard Schultz says was moved by Ratan Tata's words during launch of Mumbai store.

that sells coffee," Ratan Tata had said.

Schultz said his company has developed an "incredible relationship" with the Ratan Tata organisation and he cannot imagine bringing Starbucks to India without the assistance it has received from Tata.

Schultz also said India is the only major market in the world where Starbucks has been able to source and roast coffee beans locally.

The company worked with Tata officials on an India-only espresso roast designed specifically for the Indian market.

Schultz said people in Starbucks' coffee department were not "exactly thrilled" when he told them he was looking at a different approach to sourcing coffee and roasting process under the partnership with Ratan Tata for India.

"They were more skeptical when I said we want to create a different blend of coffee for India," he said, adding that his team was incredulous when he said the India blend was not going to be roasted by the Starbucks team, a first in Starbucks' 42 year history.

Schultz said to get the blend he wanted for India, "we'd have to share with Ratan Tata some of the family jewels – roasting secrets we've perfected over four decades and guarded very closely.

"It was a real test of our trust in our new partner," he said, adding that teaming with Tata to come up with an Indian roast was a huge step for Starbucks.

Starbucks eyes huge growth in India, China markets

Bullish on the Indian market for growth, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has said his company plans to open "thousands of stores" in India in the "not-too-distant" future, making the country one of its two largest markets outside North America along with China.

"I believe China and India offer Starbucks one of the greatest opportunities for growth.

"Our plan over time is that the number of our stores in India will rival the size and scale of what we have planned for China - thousands of stores," Schultz said in an essay he has written for the book 'Reimagining India: Unlocking The Potential of Asia's Next Superpower' edited by global consulting firm McKinsey.

Schultz voiced optimism in the potential of the Indian market to become one of the coffee giant's top growth drivers, saying "eventually we hope to have thousands of stores" in India.

"I look forward to a day in the not-too-distant future when India takes its place alongside China as one of our two largest markets outside North America," he said in the essay adding

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