| LOS ANGELES/BEIJING April 18
LOS ANGELES/BEIJING April 18 Starbucks Corp
wants to make its mainland China expansion a family
The world's biggest coffee chain is opening cafes in China
at a rate of one every four days in its quest to expand from
about 570 shops today to more than 1,500 by 2015.
To get there, it will need to recruit thousands of
employees, many of whom have extraordinarily close ties to their
parents, due to the country's one-child rule.
So this week, Starbucks is hosting China store managers and
their parents -- about 1,100 in all -- at getting-to-know-you
events in Beijing and Shanghai.
Chinese parents are known for doing anything they can to
help their children succeed, whether at work or in love, and in
doing so give America's hands-on "helicopter parents" a run for
In his pitch to Chinese parents in Beijing on Wednesday,
Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz said: "As we expand our
footprint across China, we are committed to sharing our success
and continue to grow together with them and their families."
Schultz, a well-known U.S. executive, is no stranger to
recruiting and makes frequent appearances at China universities
as part of the company's ongoing hiring efforts.
Still, he said the China events are a first for Starbucks.
"This is about showing respect" to Chinese families and
demonstrating "why we are a different type of company," Schultz
told Reuters in an interview leading up to the events.
Finding the right managers and staff in China is "very, very
difficult," said Paul French, chief China analyst at market
research firm Mintel.
The Seattle-based Starbucks currently has about 10,000
employees in China and is competing with numerous chains for
those skilled workers.
The company's rivals in China include Britain's Costa Coffee
, South Korean-owned bakery chains Paris Baguette and
Tous Les Jours, and Pacific Coffee, which is majority-owned by
Hong Kong-listed China Resources Enterprise Ltd.
McDonald's Corp sells coffee in the market, where it
also is growing rapidly, and U.S. coffee chains Dunkin' Donuts
and Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf also have China expansion
Starbucks appears to have an edge over some rivals in China,
some experts said. It invests in training and its employees are
efficient, consistent, cheerful and often speak some English.
It has the additional advantage of being a well-known
international company in a nation where parents care about brand
recognition, said James Roy, senior analyst at China Market
Research, a Shanghai-based consultancy.
"Parents are a good stakeholder to get onboard in terms of
employee happiness," said Roy, who added that many young Chinese
workers live with parents, who may want them home for dinner and
not working too hard.