Customers queue all night as Starbucks arrives in sub-Saharan Africa

Hundreds of coffee lovers queued in an upmarket Johannesburg shopping centre on Thursday as Starbucks opened its first cafe in sub-Saharan Africa. The first customers formed a long line outside the cafe’s doors in the Rosebank district of the city before it opened at 7.30am. Customers described the chain’s arrival in Africa as long overdue. One customer, 19-year-old student Mohamed Mala, said: “We’ve been queueing for 12 hours, since 7.30 last night and we wanted to be the first customers at Starbucks, and we were.”

Starbucks has been one of the things missing from the South African scene.

Customer Norma Cooper

The US-based global brand plans to open 12 to 15 more stores in South Africa over the next two years, with a long term plan of up to 150 outlets. A second branch will open later this month at another shopping mall in Johannesburg but there are no plans to expand to other countries in the region. Customers did not appear to be deterred by the relatively high prices in the first branch, where a caffe latte costs between 27 and 33 rand ($1.89- $2.30), close to double the hourly rate of pay for a bank teller.

The timing is right. We are going to offer coffee lovers a special experience

Carlo Gonzaga, chief executive of Taste Holdings, the local partner of Starbucks Coffee Company