By Nelson Belen, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The well-known American coffee company and coffeehouse chain, Starbucks, has announced that it has signed a deal with Brazil’s leading restaurant operator, SouthRock, allowing the group to fully license Starbucks retail operations throughout the country. The agreement paves the way for SouthRock’s planned expansion of Starbucks locations in Brazil.

A new Starbucks opens on Rua Visconde de Piraja in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil News
Starbucks’ first location in Rio de Janeiro opened in August 2012 at Rua Visconde de Piraja in Ipanema, photo by Mary Carroll.

The financial details of the arrangement were not disclosed, but after its announcement, representatives for Starbucks and SouthRock expressed excitement over how the deal will spur the coffee chain’s growth in the country.

“We strongly believe this is the right time to leverage a strong local business partner like SouthRock as we pursue our ambitious, long-term growth agenda for Brazil,” explained Starbucks General Manager and Vice President for Latin America, Ricardo Rico.

“SouthRock has a solid track record of bringing unique retail experiences to customers in Brazil, creating meaningful opportunities for its employees, and investing in the Brazilian economy,” Rico added. “They are the ideal partner to take the Starbucks brand into the next phase of profitable growth in Brazil.”

Founded in 2015, Sao Paulo investment firm SouthRock Capital owns and operates a multitude of major national and international food and beverage brands in Brazil, including the Brazil Airport Restaurants company, which manages restaurants such as Starbucks and TGIF’s in Brazil’s major airports.

“With Starbucks, we see continued opportunities for growth in existing markets like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, as well as new markets like Brasilia and the South, and look forward to leveraging our local market capabilities to create even greater value for both Starbucks employees and customers,” exclaimed SouthRock CEO Ken Pope.

The Seattle-based Starbucks first arrived to Brazil in December 2006 with its flagship location in São Paulo. In 2012, the first Starbucks opened in Rio de Janeiro at Rua Visconde de Piraja in Ipanema. Currently, Starbucks has 113 stores in seventeen cities across the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro with more than 1,450 employees.

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