The first Starbucks opened in Corfu a few days ago, not long after the company announced that they were closing 600 shops in the USA.
It seems like another example of Corfu following a trend years after it was a trend, and when in fact it is actually a "has been". All the indications seem to be that the "light" of Starbucks is swiftly being extinguished.
One reason is basic economics - with rising food and fuel prices a $5 latte is simply too expensive. Another and perhaps more important reason is that it is no longer unique. Although Starbucks brought the coffee culture to the mass market, you can get a variety of good coffees at most places now at a better price and without the silly names.
People have also become disillusioned with the company due to their alleged unethical practices. Last year, Ethiopia campaigned to get fairer prices for their coffee from the world's coffee giants - in particular, Starbucks. Apparently growers were getting about $1.10 a pound, which was nowhere near enough for them to make a decent living. The roasters can sell the coffee on for about $20 - 26 per pound and the retailers can make about 52 espressos from a pound, which brings them an income of up to $160!
An Ethiopian spokesman was quoted as saying, "This ratio needs to change. Our people are barefoot, have no school, no clean water or health centre. They are living hand to mouth. We need $4 a pound minimum, that's only fair."
On top of that, a couple of years ago this short video came out showing health conditions in a Starbucks shop (not for the squeamish!)
And finally, another basic question - is the coffee actually any good? This may be subjective, but it seems that over the years more and more people have been complaining about the quality of the coffee. As one person said, "Starbucks is for people who don't like coffee"
So, how will Starbucks do in Corfu? Apparently 70% of the 600 shops closing in the USA were opened within the last 18 months, so the omens for a new shop do not seem to be good.
But even if it does do well - do we really want it here?