Coffee chain Starbucks has opened its first UK site under franchise on the site of a former Little Chef restaurant in Hampshire.
The coffee shop at Liphook opened its doors to customers yesterday under a franchise agreement with the Hampshire-based 23.5 Degrees.
Mark Hepburn, company director of 23.5 Degrees said it was the first of eight planned under the agreement with Starbucks with Portsmouth, Bournemouth, Farnborough and Southampton among the areas earmarked for more sites in the coming months.
He said: "This partnership with Starbucks represents our company’s progression with a brand we feel mirrors our own values, sincerely caring about the people in our business, and committed to consistently delivering for the customer and the local community.
"We are proud to be opening the first Starbucks franchise store in the UK, combining our knowledge of local businesses, real estate opportunities, and franchise experience, with the support and expertise of the Starbucks business team to drive growth, create jobs, and provide quality products where customers need and want great coffee.”
Starbucks, which came under fire after it revealed it had not paid corporation tax for three years, said the move into franchising in the UK was part of the company's strategy to get to 'profitability in the UK' with stores expected to open in high footfall locations.
“The UK is one of the most important markets for Starbucks," said its UK & Ireland managing director Kris Engskov. "There are plenty of opportunities throughout the UK for great coffee, and franchising will help us to build the Starbucks brand in those towns and locations we have not yet had the opportunity to serve. We’re proud to partner with local entrepreneurs, who share our values and commitment to doing what is right for our customers, to build our business and bring jobs to local communities.”
The agreement with 23.5 Degrees is expected to create around 100 new jobs in Hampshire and Dorset and will further Starbucks' presence in those counties while also serving an increasing demand for coffee outlets.
According to predictions by Allegra Strategies , the coffee shop market in the UK will exceed 20,000 outlets and be worth more than £8bn by 2017.
The former Little Chef site in Liphook is one of 48 being sold off by Christie & Co after it disposed of 67 unprofitable sites in January 2012.