One of the things I miss a bit about China when I am in Holland is having a coffee at Starbucks. Not that their coffee is particularly good, but it’s the only coffee that I manage to drink half a liter of, and still think about ordering another one. In summertime it’s great to pick up a frappucino, and in winter time I like to go for a Grande Hot Chocolate with whipped cream.
What is so special about it? Probably the atmosphere, every store is similar in a way. Wherever you are in the world a Starbucks coffee tastes like a Starbucks coffee, just like a McD burger is a McDonalds hamburger. Even in China. Another thing is the level of their service – you feel welcome as a customer, something other coffee chains (in both Holland and China) could learn a lot from. Plus you normally get your order within 2 minutes, not unimportant when you are in a hurry.
For some reason Starbucks never opened any stores in Holland. Their European headquarters are located in The Netherlands, but they did not roll out the concept yet. Actually, that is not completely true. There are two Starbucks stores in Holland: the first one is in Hilversum (yes, Spill Group’s HQ location) inside the Nike HQ, and the second one is in Terminal 1 at Amsterdam Schiphol airport (European departures). Problem is, if you are not a Nike employee you cannot buy a drink in Hilversum, and in order to buy a drink at Schiphol you need to have a flight ticket to a destination in Europe.
I hardly ever fly from Amsterdam to European destinations anymore, but I wanted to check out the Starbucks anyway. Normally customs does not let you through from international to European departures with an international ticket, but I told them I just wanted to get a Starbucks coffee. Because it was a quiet day they let me through. To be honest, I was not too impressed. The store is in the middle of what used to be an open area, and the staff was not trained too well (yet). The coffee was nice though, and that’s the main thing. And of course I got myself an Amsterdam Starbucks mug (I collect these and buy one in every country that I visit, I have about 40 different ones so far).
I heard that next month Starbucks will open 2 more locations on the Amsterdam airport, one in the international terminal and one in the arrivals hall before customs. That mean that from next month on everybody can have a Starbucks coffee in Holland, although you will have to drive to Schiphol to get it. Is this the beginning of the Starbucks invasion in Holland?