Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Starbuck Korea and Red Bean Frappuccino

Here's your Korea Starbucks update... note how they mention Lotte who is Shinsegae's top competition in retail. Lotte also has has the Krispy Kreme franchise in K, while Shinsegae holds the Starbucks' franchise. Huge coffee shop competition is brewing in Korea. More significant, is how Korea is the test market for many new products. I'm headed to Korea in a week and will give the new drink a try:)

Korea Herald notes..
Starbucks Corp. will soon be offering a taste of Korea in 10 countries with the launch of the Red Bean Frappuccino, its Korean unit said yesterday.

About 2,100 Starbucks stores in 10 countries, including Korea, will be featuring the red bean-based icy drink, a suggestion proposed by Starbucks Korea, and the second one, after the Green Tea Latte, from the Korean unit to make the leap.

The Red Bean Frappuccino will be available in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia from June 1 to mid-July. The new blend will be a seasonal drink.

"Red beans are enjoyed in various ways in our country, while they provide nutrition and a unique taste, and so we hope to be able to share this with people not only in Asia but in many other parts of the world through Starbucks," Starbucks Coffee Korea said in a statement.

Park Chan-hee, manager of the public relations division of the local Starbucks operations, said the new blend, as a seasonal drink, is most likely to be found in other parts of the world next summer, or embraced by countries with hot weather all year-round.

Signaling the beginning of a red bean boom, Angel-in-us Coffee, a local coffee shop operated by Lotte Group's Lotteria Co., yesterday announced plans to launch red bean ice drinks, including smoothies, on June 1.

Where is the "short" size?

Starbucks Coffee Korea recently eliminated the "short" size from its menu for the sake of consumer convenience, according to Park.

Korea now has the "tall" and the "grande" displayed on the menu. But those consumers used to the short 8 fluid ounce size can continue to make an order, since the local stores have not eliminated the option altogether.

"One reason to remove the short was to make the menu board look neater, in response to our consumers," said Park in a telephone interview. "Some of them have been complaining that our menu board is too confusing and cluttered."

As part of the world's largest coffeehouse chain, Starbucks Korea has been under scrutiny for the high prices associated with take-out coffees, prompting some critics to question the motive for taking the short size off the list.

"It may not be listed, but we have indicated on the menu that we are still serving the short size," Park said.

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