In an interview with the Handelsblatt daily, Schultz said he had been relatively careful in Europe and that the focus of expansion had most recently been on China, while his emphasis would remain on Asia over the next year or so.
But he said Europe would not remain a Starbucks backwater. “China was in the last years such a big chance for us and we were so successful there that we trained our focus there. We will open in India in 2012, in Vietnam in 2013. But we will redouble our efforts in Europe.
“Admittedly we will do that in a very disciplined manner and always keep our eye on the economic situation. I hope that we can double or treble the number of our cafes in Germany.”
He said the coffee would remain the same the world over, but added, “Local dishes could become more relevant soon. And I think there are chances for this in Germany. You will find out more in the next 12 months.”
When asked for an example, he suggested, “One could buy bakery goods from German bakeries and sell such food as the German customers expect and value.”
He admitted that the firm had at times become overconfident.
“Starbucks has – like many other firms – gone through a cyclical phase in which many people said many nice things and we started to believe that we were great. But we weren’t so great. The strong growth had covered a number of mistakes. But there was a feeling which I describe as hubris. They thought that they would always be at the top no matter what they did.”
He said success had seduced the firm and that the economic crisis in the United States had hit the company hard as a result – requiring a restructuring.
“We have definitively finished the turn-around. The firm is healthier, stronger and has a new level of discipline. But most important is that we have maintained the values of Starbucks,” he said.
The company will be introducing new coffee-related products to its cafes, and then later in supermarkets, he said.