The Null Device

72% of Starbucks in Australia to close

Multinational coffee chain Starbucks have announced that they will close 61 our of their 85 Australian outlets. That's just under 72%.

What surprises me is that they had 85 outlets in Australia in the first place. Thanks to large-scale Italian immigration in the 1950s and 1960s, Australia has very high standards for what constitutes a good cup of coffee. The inner cities of Australia are full of cafés with espresso machines and baristas who know how to use them well, to the point where cafés in the UK advertise their staff's Australian training, and the locals' expectations of coffee is at a level well above Starbucks' ability to compete, even with their resources.

Who could possibly have patronised all those Starbucks outlets? Surely there wouldn't have been enough risk-averse American businessmen passing through to justify 85 of them.

There are 5 comments on "72% of Starbucks in Australia to close":

Posted by: datakid Tue Jul 29 22:57:57 2008

I know that at least one of them on Swanston St does a roaring trade with International Students. And since the government has been underfunding Higher Ed over here, there seems to be more and more of them. They love it, and have no historical or cultural connection with our coffee. Plus I'd imagine there's good brand recognition from having a couple of Swanston st stores.

Posted by: acb Wed Jul 30 01:01:52 2008

I thought that Bubble Tea was more their sort of thing. Or does Starbucks serve that as well?

Posted by: threeze Thu Jul 31 01:30:33 2008

The in-mall ones they have here in Canberra always seemed to be full of push-chairs and prams.

Posted by: Greg Thu Jul 31 03:34:18 2008

I wonder how significant their free wireless is? Here in the south bay, a lot of temporary visitors, such as student interns, live in overcrowded share houses. They can walk down the road to the local Starbucks, grab a brew, open your laptop, and get more work done than they would at home. Some of my housemates do this. Starbucks seem happy with the arrangement and it's cheap internet.

Posted by: acb Fri Aug 1 09:38:25 2008

If they have free wireless, that could be a tipping point. Wireless wasn't that common in Melbourne when I last lived there. Though it's one area in which small cafes, bars and groovy holes in the wall could compete quite comfortably.

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