Starbucks Competitors

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Starbucks Corporation

1. Overview:

  • Name: Starbucks Corporation
  • Founded: March 30, 1971
  • Founders: Jerry Baldwin, Zev Siegl, and Gordon Bowker
  • Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, USA
  • CEO: Laxman Narsimhan

2. Mission and Vision:

  • Mission Statement: To inspire and nurture the human spirit—one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.
  • Vision Statement: To be one of the world’s most recognized and respected brands, known for inspiring and nurturing the human spirit.

Starbucks is the world’s largest coffeehouse chain with operations across 86 markets. The company is known for its premium quality coffee, excellent store ambience and customer service. It is popular among its audience as a third place between home and work where people can relax and sip coffee. Since its beginnings in Seattle, Starbucks has experienced significant growth and global expansion. The company operates two types of stores including company operated and licensed stores.

Starbucks CompetitorsAs of October 2023, Starbucks operated 38,038 stores in all its markets. The biggest market of the coffeehouse chain is the US with 9,645 stores and the second largest market is China where the company operated 6,804 stores in October 2023. Starbucks has been experiencing healthy financial growth over the previous several years. The brand is known for selling premium quality coffee and for its unconventional marketing strategy. It sources premium Arabica coffee beans from suppliers in various locations. Premium quality of products is a critical focus at Starbucks.

Starbucks faces competition from various companies in the coffee and specialty beverage industry. Here are some of Starbucks’ notable competitors:

Dunkin’ (formerly Dunkin’ Donuts):

  • Dunkin’ is a major competitor in the coffee and quick-service restaurant industry. Known for its coffee, donuts, and breakfast items, Dunkin’ has a significant presence, especially in the United States. Dunkin is a part of Inspire brands and has more than 13,800 locations operational worldwide. It is coffee and donuts brand that achieved $12.4 billion in systemwide sales in 2022. Previously, the company was called Dunkin Donuts but renamed itself Dunkin since it wanted to rebrand itself as a coffee brand which was its most profitable product. Dunkin has also introduced several new coffee flavors and become a favorite of coffee enthusiasts in various corners of the globe. Its Super Bowl ‘Dunkings’ commercial was a huge success.

McDonald’s McCafé:

  • McDonald’s has expanded its coffee offerings through its McCafé brand. With a focus on premium coffee beverages, McDonald’s competes with Starbucks, particularly in the fast-food segment. McCafe offers a nice range of coffee products for its customers including hot coffee drinks, lattes and frappes. In recent years, McDonald’s is promoting its McCafe brand using creative strategies. In China, it has introduced a 15RMB (2.08 USD) breakfast at McCafe that includes a latte and a McMuffin. McCafe has also introduced new beverage packaging in Canada with its ‘Must be McCafe’ campaign.

Costa Coffee:

  • Costa Coffee is a well-known international coffeehouse chain, and it competes with Starbucks globally. It has a strong presence in the United Kingdom and other parts of the world. Founded in 1971 by two brother Sergio and Bruno Costa, the Costa Coffee brand was acquired by the Coca Cola company in 2019 for $4.9 billion. The acquisition helped Coca Cola establish its footprint in the coffee market. At the time of the acquisition, Costa coffee had operations across more than 30 countries. Costa has ambitious plans for expansion in the Indian market where the popularity of coffee in the tier 1 cities has grown in recent years. At the beginning of 2022, Costa’s footprint has increased to 38 countries. Its largest market based on the number of stores is United Kingdom where the company had 2,467 stores operational in January 2022. The company had 459 stores operational in China in Jan 2022, which is its second largest market based on number of stores.

Tim Hortons:

  • Tim Hortons is a Canadian coffee and fast-food chain that competes with Starbucks, particularly in Canada and some international markets. It is known for its coffee and Timbits (donut holes). Tim Hortons was founded in 1964 by a Canadian Ice Hockey player named Tim Horton. It became a part of the Restaurant Brand International which also owns the Burger King brand in 2014. As of the end of 2023, it had operations across 19 markets, with Canada being its largest market with 3,894 stores operational. The brand has also increased its footprint in China and the US. Based on the number of stores, China is its second largest market, where 728 Tim Hortons stores were operational at the end of 2023. Tim Hortons had total 5,833 stores operational globally including 631 in the United States in December 2023.

Peet’s Coffee & Tea:

  • Peet’s, based in the United States, is another coffeehouse chain that competes with Starbucks. It has a reputation for high-quality, dark-roasted coffee. Peet’s coffee was founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet in California. The company does not have an extensive store chain like Starbucks. Overall, there are 370 locations including the US, China and Dubai. However, Peet’s sells its coffee products through a large number of grocery stores and online channels. It is a well recognized name in the world of coffee known for high quality hand roasted coffee. Peets sources selectively from the regions where only the world’s best coffee beans are found.

Caribou Coffee:

  • Caribou Coffee is a specialty coffee and espresso retailer, primarily based in the United States. It competes with Starbucks, emphasizing a cozy atmosphere and premium coffee products. Founded in 1992, Caribou now serves customers at 700 locations worldwide. The company was founded in Minnesota in 1992, where its headquarters and roastery are still located. Caribou utilizes several channels to sell its coffee products including online and offline channels. In all the 50 states of the US, its products are available across grocery stores, mass retailers, club stores, foodservice providers, hotel, entertainment venues and online.

Panera Bread:

  • Panera Bread, a bakery-cafe chain, offers a range of food and beverage items, including coffee and specialty drinks. While not exclusively a coffeehouse, it competes with Starbucks in the broader fast-casual dining space. According to Wikipedia, Panera Bread operates more than 2000 locations, all of which are located in the US and Canada. Panera also sells packaged coffee in various flavours. While Panera is not mainly a coffee company, but still a rival of Starbucks. It offers a wide array of pastries and baked goods, such as bagels, brownies, cookies, croissants, muffins, and scones as well as coffee, espresso drinks, lattes and tea.

Nescafé (Nestlé):

  • Nescafé, a brand of Nestlé, is known for its instant coffee products. While it operates in a different format, it competes with Starbucks in the broader coffee market. Nescafe is now a well known name in the coffee sector. it has a strong global presence and is a well recognized coffee brand in almost all corners of the world. Now, Nescafe products are sold across 180 countries. Apart from the various coffee flavors, Nescafe also sells coffee machines. This brand has been around since 1938 and has seen a lot of ups and downs. Its products are available in almost all corners of the world in grocery stores or through online channels.

Blue Bottle Coffee:

  • Blue Bottle Coffee is a specialty coffee roaster and retailer, known for its emphasis on quality and sustainability. It competes with Starbucks, particularly in the premium coffee segment. Nestle has acquired a majority stake in Blue Bottle coffee.

Local and Independent Coffee Shops:

  • Starbucks also faces competition from numerous local and independent coffee shops that cater to specific communities. These establishments often focus on unique, artisanal offerings and a personalized customer experience. Around the world, in almost all markets, the company faces competition from local brands and independent shops that sell coffee. For example, there is Barista in India with more than 300 locations. There are several such smaller brands that compete with Starbucks and have very few outlets in the US and China as well.


  • Lavazza is an Italian coffee brand founded in 1895. It has become quite famous over time and represents the rich heritage and excellence of Italian coffee culture. Renowned globally for its premium coffee blends, Lavazza is a family-owned company that has mastered the art of coffee roasting and blending over four generations. With a commitment to quality and sustainability, Lavazza sources its beans from diverse regions worldwide, creating unique and harmonious blends that cater to a spectrum of coffee preferences. From the iconic Super Crema to the sophisticated Qualità Oro, Lavazza’s offerings reflect a dedication to delivering an authentic and delightful coffee experience. Beyond its exceptional products, Lavazza actively engages in sustainability initiatives, emphasizing environmental and social responsibility throughout its supply chain. As a result, Lavazza stands as a symbol of Italian craftsmanship, innovation, and a passion for providing coffee enthusiasts with an unparalleled taste of Italy’s coffee heritage.

It’s important to note that the competitive landscape in the coffee industry can vary by region, and consumer preferences may influence which brands are perceived as the most significant competitors in different markets. Additionally, the industry is dynamic, and new competitors may emerge over time. However, Starbucks has a very strong global presence with more than 38,000 locations. It sells only premium coffee and leads the entire coffee industry. It is also important to note that the brand has expanded internationally at a very fast pace over the past several years and is doing well financially.