American multinational chain of coffee houses and roastery Starbucks has opened a branch in the seaside town of Muizenberg in Cape Town on Friday, but many locals are unhappy, claiming that local businesses will suffer.
According to online news publication The Africa Report, Starbucks South Africa has grown its portfolio from 16 outlets to 25 in locations including Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Starbucks opened its doors for the first time in southern Africa in April 2016.
Muizenberg, which is synonymous with small locally owned businesses ranging from bakeries to coffee shops and ice-cream parlours that have been around for decades, is a booming emerging market which has seen significant growth in the last few years, mainly due to the popular “Surfers Corner”, which sees hundreds of surfers frequent the vicinity daily.
When it first emerged that Starbucks would be opening a branch in the area early this year, locals took to social media platforms such as community groups on Facebook to share their thoughts on the matter.
There seems to be mixed reactions to the international coffee house setting up shop in the community.
One Facebook user posted in the Muizenberg Community Group, which has over 10,000 members, “Do we need a Starbucks in Muizenberg when everything is local and authentic…”
Other comments included:
“Yes we do they will be employing a good few local folk who are desperate for jobs. Once they are trained up they could be able to move on to bigger and better jobs. Let’s stop looking at the negative the whole bloody time and accept new business lines in the area. A new burger venue opened up and nothing was said. Support local.”
“Please no! Chain coffee shops drain the uniqueness and charm of places like Muizenberg. The local coffee shops are awesome.”
“Okay, so you all say no because of stupid opinions and not one of you stop (to) think that opening another place gives our locals jobs! Ignorance is bliss.”
African News Agency (ANA) reached out to Starbucks SA CEO Adrian Maizey, who is also the CEO of Rand Capital Coffee, the licence holder of the Starbucks brand in southern Africa.
“We are excited about opening and bringing job opportunities to our local South African communities, like Muizenberg, at these trying times, when investment is most needed in communities that are reeling from the impact of the pandemic,” said Maizey.
Maizey added that as a local company, owned and operated exclusively by South Africans, they are very excited about supporting local communities, whether it be through new jobs or through the hiring of contractors and suppliers to build and supply their stores, who otherwise may not have work at this time.
“We look forward to developing the local employee base skill sets through the investment we make in training. Each barista is trained for upwards of three months, for example,” said Maizey.
He added that their menu attempts to cater to all customers of each South African community, tailoring coffee and non-coffee beverages for the diverse South African population.
Maizey said that their customers, who tend to be the younger generation, who drink their speciality non-coffee drinks, are particularly excited to have an offering tailored to them, complementing the existing offerings to the Muizenberg community.
Africa News Agency via IOL