Starbucks has announced a new licensing agreement for Uruguay with its long-time strategic partner Alsea, a leading restaurant operator in Latin America and Spain. The agreement grants Alsea the exclusive rights to develop and operate Starbucks stores in Uruguay, with the first store set to open in early 2018 in Montevideo. Starbucks and Alsea have worked together since 2002, now serving millions of customers in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and Colombia in 841 Starbucks stores and employing more than 10,500 Starbucks employees. Uruguay will become the fifth market in this partnership, and Starbucks 18th market in the Latin America and Caribbean region. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring the Starbucks Experience to customers in Uruguay – a critical emerging market as we continue our expansion across South America,” said Ricardo Rico, General Manager and Vice President for Starbucks Latin America. “As we position the brand for continued growth, Alsea continues to be an invaluable strategic partner in the region as we pursue disciplined and profitable growth in a way that celebrates local cultures and coffee traditions.” Alsea, a leading restaurant operator of global brands in the quick service, coffee shop, casual and family dining segments, has a diversified portfolio including Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Burger King, Chili’s, California Pizza Kitchen, P.F. Chang’s, Italianni’s, The Cheesecake Factory, Vips, El Portón, Archie’s, Foster’s Hollywood, LAVACA and Cañas y Tapas. The company operates more than 3,200 stores and has more than 67,000 employees in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil and Spain. The new agreement with Starbucks also represents Alsea’s first foray into Uruguay, representing a critical business opportunity in a new South American market. Since launching the brand in Latin America, Starbucks has grown to more than 1100 stores employing more than 13,000 people across 16 markets, 15 of which are operated by licensing partners. Starbucks will open next in Jamaica in the fall of 2017, and Uruguay in early 2018.