Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Mexicans LOVE Starbucks more than suburban soccer moms
The new Starbucks right off the main Plaza in colonial San Miguel de Allende, a UNESCO world heritage site
After living in the Northwest, I concluded no population could ever be as ga-ga over Starbucks (yet at the same time "so over" Starbucks) as people in Portland and Seattle. I was wrong. The new, and somewhat unlikely candidate, for the most Starbucks-obsessed is Mexicans.
El Starbucks (pronounced eh-Stár-buhks) entered Mexico in 2002. There are now about 30 Starbucks nation-wide as far as I can tell; the company indicates that 9 stores are currently being prepared for opening. This small number of stores doesn't capture the enthusiasm for Starbucks. Just like when it first started expanding in the U.S., it is THE happening spot, especially among the teen set. The Starbucks cup could now be considered a standard accessory for the upper-crust in all major cities and the presence of a Starbucks confirmation that you are living in a "nice" neighborhood. The Starbucks in the above photo was feebly protested by San Miguel's huge American expat community, but the Mexican locals welcomed it with open arms. To me, the true indication of the passion for Starbucks - You can get a much better latte at almost half the price at Punta del Cielo or Finca Santa Veracruz, Mexican chain stores that are everywhere, but people pay the about same for a Starbucks latte in Mexico City as they do in Dallas.