Speaking inside of the 30,000 square foot Starbucks Reserve Roastery Shanghai, right in front of a magnificent two-story roasting cask engraved with more than 1,000 traditional Chinese stamps, Ma sang the praises of the Seattle-based coffee chain, saying that when people ask him why so many American companies are not so successful in China, he points them to Starbucks, which is opening a new location here every 15 hours. Visitors are even handed over an "exploration guide" which doubles as a map, as they walk in.
The store has a Willy Wonka feel, with a giant two-story cask holding tons of freshly roasted beans that are sent out to the café's various bars through tubing that snakes along the ceiling while packaged beans wander around on conveyor belts. And, if caffeine doesn't quite do it for you, China's first Starbucks Teavana bar, which is made from 3D printed recycled materials and serves nitrogen-infused teas, is located upstairs.
If you've ever wondered what "symphony pipes" are, then wonder no more.
Customers standing in front of the roasting cask at the first Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Asia will see a two-story copper vessel adorned with almost 3,000 hand-carved traditional Chinese chops or stamps.
During the most recent quarter, same-store sales increased 8% in China, compared with 2% increase globally.
Trays of temptation sit everywhere, filled with Italian-style croissant called cornetti, breads studded with olives, tomatoes and fresh herbs and even a gourmet take on cinnamon rolls. The specially designed, beautifully finished pieces were handmade by Chinese craftsmen and will eventually be available to purchase.
They can also watch Princi bakers (the artisanal food pairing partner at Starbucks Roasteries) bake bread.
Of course, no new store in China would be complete without the integration of state-of-the-art technology.
The new Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai features an augmented reality (AR) activity for customers that will blend the experiences of shopping online and in-store, according to a press release.
The app has a digital menu as well as details on the huge, borderline bewildering, range of brewing methods that include the Cold Brew Tower, Modbar Pour-Over and Siphon. Along the way, customers collect virtual badges and once they've earned all of them, they'll receive a custom Roastery social media filter to share. "It's one thing to imagine a fully integrated in-store and digital experience, which brings together the impressive scale of the Shanghai Roastery with the highest quality small-lot coffee beans". Shanghai location is Starbucks' biggest store to date, and also its most advanced digitally.
"Customers can extend the experience even after leaving the store", said Jiang, standing near a display of newly roasted coffee beans.