The World’s Number One Starbucks Fan

Thanks to the Internet, I recently stumbled upon Starbucks’ number one fan. His name is Winter and he has visited more than 4,500 Starbucks in five countries. His goal is to visit every Starbucks on this planet and, at the rate the company is growing, he has a lot of traveling left to do.

He documents his travels here, meticulously photographing every location he has visited. He also maps the US stores he has yet to visit…

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So what exactly does this guy do for a living? Apparently I wasn’t alone in wondering that because he offers an FAQ page.

I was mostly curious to know more about his global experiences with the chain, looking for ways Starbucks has been localizied in each of the markets he visited. Here’s what Winter had to say…

How are the Starbucks locations outside the US localized for those markets?
Menus are of course in the local language. Some beverages and pastries are only available in that country, like the Moka Praline in France and Spain, French toast in Paris, the Marshmallow Mocha in Japan. Conversely, the canned DoubleShot is only available in the U.S. The foreign markets I’ve seen include the short (8 oz) size on the menu, while the U.S. took it off years ago (but still offer it on request). The interior designs are pretty much identical to the U.S., with local posters and art in the local language. The differences are in fixtures, because foreign buildings have different types of lights, bathrooms, etc and in the exteriors, because Starbucks in old cities like Paris and London have to fit into the existing buildings. Many more stores with upstairs and downstairs than in the U.S.

Of all the locations you’ve visited, which is your favorite and why?
I cannot possibly choose a favorite store. It’s as if I had 4,000 children and were asked to choose a favorite. No, that’s a horrible analogy. Still, I do have favorites in certain areas. For example, in Alexandria, VA, the store in Old Town is my favorite in the area because it is built in a historic red brick building formerly owned by an associate of George Washington. I like Starbucks in old buildings.

Or in Seattle, I like the Phinny Ridge store.

What is your favorite non-US Starbucks store, and why?
Again, I don’t have a favorite, but I like the first store in Paris, the one on venue de L’Opera, because it is the first, and because I like the city of Paris, and France, and the French language.

A second choice would be the Ginza store in Japan, the first store in Japan, but also a cool red brick design.

What non-US locations are next on your travel list?
No specific destinations, but I do hope for several trips this year. Possibilities are Mexico City, London again, and an Asian market like Tokyo, Taiwan, or Seoul where there are enough stores (nearly 100) to keep me busy.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.