Starbucks has announced its intention to fully license Starbucks operations in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxemburg to Latin American independent chain restaurant operator Alsea. “We’re very pleased to build on our 16-year history with Alsea, a long-term strategic partner to Starbucks,” says John Culver, Group President of Starbucks International, Channel Development, and Global Coffee and Tea. “These strategic moves would enable us to further accelerate growth across these markets as we position Starbucks for long-term success moving forward.” A strategic partnership between Starbucks and Alsea began in 2002, when together they opened Mexico City’s first Starbucks store. Today, Alsea operates more than 900 Starbucks stores in Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Uruguay, employing more than 11,500 staff across the five markets. “We are honoured and thankful to Starbucks leadership for trusting Alsea with this important opportunity. We look forward to finalising our discussions and working in close partnership with the European team to bring long-term profitable growth,” says Renzo Casillo, Managing Director of Alsea. Starbucks will also introduce a new support structure in its head office in London to better serve its license strategy. “This new structure will be the culmination of a long and thoughtful process to simplify our organisation so that it can best service our increasingly licensed store market strategy while continuing to embed our mission and values in how we operate every day,” says Martin Brok, President of Starbucks Europe, Middle East and Africa. Starbucks opened its first Paris store in 2004 on the Boulevard des Capucines. The brand came to the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg between 2008 and 2016, creating more than 3100 jobs at more than 260 stores across the four countries.