Starbucks Partners with SouthRock to Drive Further Growth in Brazil

Starbucks Coffee Company has entered into an agreement with SouthRock – a multi-brand restaurant operator in Brazil – to fully license Starbucks retail operations in the country. The agreement provides SouthRock the rights to develop and operate Starbucks stores in Brazil. SouthRock plans to open Starbucks stores both in existing markets as well as future markets across Brazil.

“We strongly believe this is the right time to leverage a strong local business partner like SouthRock as we pursue our ambitious, long-term growth agenda for Brazil,” says Ricardo Rico, general manager and vice president for Starbucks licensed store operations, Latin America. “SouthRock has a solid track record of bringing unique retail experiences to customers in Brazil, creating meaningful opportunities for its employees, and investing in the Brazilian economy. They are the ideal partner to take the Starbucks brand into the next phase of profitable growth in Brazil.”

Starbucks entered Brazil in December 2006, and now serves customers in 113 stores in 17 cities across the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with more than 1,450 employees. Looking ahead, the company will work with SouthRock to bring Starbucks stores to more customers, while creating opportunities for even more employees and their families as the business grows. SouthRock will also continue the brand’s long-standing tradition of celebrating locally sourced Starbucks Brasil Blend coffee in all stores and plans to invest USD $1 million towards social impact initiatives that benefits employees and the communities they serve, including Starbucks Global Academy, a unique and free online education platform for employees through Starbucks strategic partnership with Arizona State University.

“At SouthRock, we pride ourselves on our hands-on approach to food and beverage management in Brazil, with a focus on building trust with our employees and empowering them to deliver experiences that exceed our customers’ expectations,” says Ken Pope, founder and CEO, SouthRock. “[We are] committed to caring for and growing the Starbucks brand, now and into the future.”

SouthRock was founded in 2015 by Pope, who along with SouthRock’s executive management team own and operate national and international food and beverage brands in Brazil such as Brazil Airport Restaurants, a multi-brand food and beverage service company operating in Brazil’s largest airports. Brazil Airport Restaurants’ license agreements include Starbucks and TGI Friday’s among other international brands.

“With Starbucks, we see continued opportunities for growth in existing markets like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as well as new markets like Brasilia and the South, and look forward to leveraging our local market capabilities to create even greater value for both Starbucks employees and customers,” says Pope.

With the transition of ownership in Brazil, Starbucks retail operations across all 17 markets in Latin America and the Caribbean will become wholly licensed. Starbucks currently has a presence in Argentina, Aruba and Curacao, Bahamas, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago. Starbucks will also open in Uruguay later this year.

“Much of Starbucks success in Latin America and the Caribbean has been due to our knowledge of when to rely on local and regional trusted licensing partners to grow the business,” says Starbucks’ Rico. “For us, the right mix of ownership models – company owned, licensed or joint venture – has allowed us to remain focused on our biggest opportunities as we further accelerate growth across the globe.”

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