There may be room at the Central American table for a café chain, which offers a combination of attractive customer experience, good coffee and a competitive price.
Starbucks will open 20 stores in Panama between now and 2020, the company said last month during celebrations marking its fifth anniversary in Central America.
Starbucks Coffee Company, which has eight stores in El Salvador, five in Guatemala, five in Costa Rica, and one in Panama, operates regionally through a licensing agreement with Premium Restaurants of America, the largest food franchisor in El Salvador, with brands which include China Wok, Hacienda Real, KFC, Pizza Hut and Wendy’s.
Juan Valdez Café has five stores in El Salvador, three in Panama and one in Costa Rica.
Since its foundation in Guatemala in 2005, Café Barista has 24 stores in its home market.
One of the principal shareholders of Café Barista is Corporacion Multi Inversiones (only Spanish), with operations in agriculture, real estate and food service, including the Pollo Campero restaurant chain, with company-owned operations in Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and the United States.
Multi Inversiones also operates Pollo Campero in the United States, Central America, Italy, Spain, Bahrain, India and Indonesia, through a franchise program established In 1994.
Starbucks, Juan Valdez and Barista have performed well in the region, in which the concept of the modern café did not start expanding until 2010.
At the same time, all three target high-income consumers in the region.
Central America may have room for competition, especially in the mid-market segment.