US coffee giant Starbucks has unveiled its first store in Thailand to offer a menu featuring alcoholic drinks at Iconsiam mall.
Nednapa Srisamai, managing director of Starbucks Coffee Thailand, said the Starbucks Reserve Chao Phraya Riverfront at Iconsiam is scheduled to open on Friday, spanning a 1,260-square metre area with 350 seats, including 80 outdoors.
The new store will not only serve signature menus, but also has a mixologist bar that plans to serve alcoholic drinks to customers for the first time in Thailand. Thailand is the fifth country in which Starbucks launched a menu featuring alcoholic drinks, following the US, China, Japan and Taiwan.
"For 22 years, Starbucks has been elevating coffee craftsmanship and bringing unique experiences to our customers in Thailand. Today marks a significant milestone as we introduce an exciting new store that recognises our coffee heritage while celebrating Thailand's rich and diverse culture," said Sara Trilling, president of Starbucks Asia-Pacific.
However, the menu featuring alcoholic beverages will only be available after the company wins government approval.
Starbucks Reserve Chao Phraya Riverfront at Iconsiam is also the first Starbucks outlet in the country to serve the Muan Jai blend, a bold coffee from Northern Thailand. The store includes a Teavana Bar for customers seeking a reimagined tea experience.
The move is aimed at pampering customers with alternative drink options.
The new stores is Starbucks' 12th Reserve Bar and its 417th store in Thailand, reaffirming the company's commitment to accelerating growth across one of Southeast Asia's most dynamic markets.
"This opening of our largest Starbucks Reserve shows our parent company's confidence in the potential of Starbucks in Thailand and Asia-Pacific, allowing and supporting us to continue growing our branches here," Ms Nednapa said.
Ms Nednapa said the company's business had felt the pinch from the pandemic like other businesses. However, it began witnessing a satisfying recovery in its performance by the end of last year, she said.
Moreover, she said the market trend for the coffee business in Thailand is still bright, offering huge potential growth. This was evident given the consistently expanding number of coffee shops operating around the country.
Thailand's coffee market is now estimated to be worth 60 billion baht. Some 33 billion baht of this amount is generated by coffee for consumption in the home. Key players among Thailand's coffee shop chains are Amazon, Starbucks, Doi Chang, Coffee World, True Coffee and All Cafe.
Ms Nednapa said Starbucks plans to open 20-30 new stores in Thailand this year, which would bring the total to around 434-444 stores. The company also plans to open 10 drive-thru stores, adding to the 36 drive-thru outlets the company was operating last year. The number of cashless stores would increase to 50 by year-end, up from 17 last year.
The investment budget was not disclosed.