Starbucks, the world's biggest coffee chain, launched its first outlet in central New Delhi on Wednesday and vowed an aggressive drive for business across India."We are committed to the India market for the long term and will aggressively grow our business, expanding stores and providing locally relevant innovations," John Culver, company president for China and South Pacific, said in a statement.
Starbucks entered the vast Indian market in a joint venture with the country's giant Tata conglomerate, and launched its first store in the commercial hub Mumbai last October.
Mr Culver told NDTV Profit that the response in India has been stupendous so far with the Mumbai store sales "exceeding expectations". Bangalore and Pune will be the next destinations for store launches, he added.
The new store in Delhi is located in the landmark Connaught Place. A branch opened in the city's main international airport last month. This is the company's seventh store in India.
Like other Western chains that have come to India, such as Pizza Hut, Starbucks is offering "Indianised" versions of its food and beverages to appeal to local palates.
(Read: Starbucks looks to work with Indian coffee growing communities)
Starbucks will mainly compete with Indian-owned Cafe Coffee Day, which dominates the market, and with well-established foreign chains such as Britain's Costa Coffee and the US Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.
India has traditionally been more of a tea-drinking nation. But coffee's stature is rising among young and urban professional classes, who seem drawn as much to Western-style cafes as they are to the drink itself.
With inputs from AFP