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Starbucks vs Competitors: The Global Battle for Coffee Supremacy

Starbucks is a globally recognized coffeehouse chain, known for its delicious coffee and cozy atmosphere. Since its foundation in Seattle in 1971, Starbucks has grown to become the largest coffee shop chain in the world, with thousands of outlets worldwide, serving millions of customers daily.

Over the years, Starbucks has not only become a popular brand but also a cultural icon, symbolizing a lifestyle of comfort, simplicity, and indulgence. In this article, we will explore the history and growth of Starbucks, its global presence, and revenue, as well as its competitors, Dunkin Donuts and

Costa Coffee.

Starbucks Corporation Overview

History and growth of Starbucks

Starbucks Corporation was founded in Seattle in 1971 by two teachers, Jerry Baldwin and Gordon Bowker, and writer Zev Siegl. Initially, the company sold only roasted coffee beans and coffee-making equipment.

The first Starbucks coffee shop opened in Seattle’s Pike Place Market in 1971, with a focus on selling fresh, high-quality coffee beans and brewing coffee on-site. The company expanded rapidly in the following years, and by the end of the decade, it had opened six stores in Seattle.

In the 1980s, entrepreneur Howard Schultz joined the company and became a driving force in its growth and transformation. Schultz believed that Starbucks had huge potential, beyond selling coffee beans and equipment.

He envisioned a coffeehouse chain that would provide customers with an immersive and welcoming experience, where they could enjoy their coffee and socialize with friends or work on their laptops. Schultz’s vision proved successful, and Starbucks continued to grow rapidly, expanding nationwide in the US, and later globally.

Today, Starbucks operates in over 82 countries, with more than 30,000 stores, including company-operated stores and licensed stores. The company’s revenue for the fiscal year 2020 was $23.56 billion, with a net income of $3.60 billion.

Starbucks has become a cultural icon, a go-to place for coffee lovers, and a symbol of corporate success. Starbucks’ global presence and revenue

Starbucks has a significant global presence, with a vast network of stores all over the world, including Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.

The company’s global expansion started in the early 1990s, with the opening of its first stores outside North America in Tokyo, Japan, and Singapore. The company continued its global expansion, opening stores in new markets and adapting its products and services to different cultures and preferences.

As of the end of 2020, Starbucks had 16,660 company-operated stores and 14,489 licensed stores worldwide. Its global presence has contributed significantly to its revenue, with over 87% of its stores located outside the US.

The company’s revenue for the fiscal year 2020 was $23.56 billion, with a net income of $3.60 billion. Starbucks’ revenue has continued to grow consistently over the years, driven by its strong brand, high-quality products, and diverse offerings.

Starbucks Competitors

Dunkin Donuts

Dunkin Donuts is a coffeehouse and fast-food chain based in Massachusetts, United States. The company was founded in Quincy, Massachusetts, in 1950, and has since grown to become a popular brand, with thousands of stores worldwide.

Dunkin Donuts is known for its coffee, donuts, bagels, and sandwiches, among other drinks and snacks. In terms of revenue, Dunkin Donuts is one of Starbucks’ closest competitors, with similar revenue streams.

Dunkin Donuts’ revenue for the fiscal year 2020 was $1.39 billion, compared to Starbucks’ $23.56 billion. The company has a significantly smaller global presence than Starbucks, with a total of 13,100 stores worldwide, including both company-owned and franchised stores.

Despite its smaller size, Dunkin Donuts has managed to carve out a significant niche for itself in the coffeehouse market, with a loyal customer base in the US and other countries.

Costa Coffee

Costa Coffee is a British coffeehouse chain founded in London in 1971. The company became popular in the UK in the 1990s and expanded to other countries, including Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.

In 2018,

Costa Coffee was acquired by Coca-Cola, which has since expanded its operations and distribution channels.

Costa Coffee’s revenue has declined in recent years, particularly following the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the closure of many stores and reduced foot traffic in others. In 2020,

Costa Coffee’s revenue declined by 59.1%, compared to the previous year, with a net loss of 42.3 million.

The company’s global presence is also smaller than Starbucks’, with a total of over 3,800 stores in more than 30 countries. Conclusion:

In conclusion, Starbucks has become a global icon, renowned for its high-quality coffee, cozy atmosphere, and diverse offerings.

The company’s rapid growth and global expansion have contributed significantly to its revenue streams, which remain consistently high despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. While Starbucks faces competition from other coffeehouse chains, including Dunkin Donuts and

Costa Coffee, its strong brand and reputation continue to attract a loyal customer base worldwide.

McDonald’s as a Competitor


McDonald’s Corporation is a global fast-food chain known for its burgers, fries, and signature sauces. However, the company has also been expanding its presence in the coffee market through its subsidiary,


Launched in 1993 in Melbourne, Australia,

McCaf has since expanded its operations to over 30 countries, including China, where it has been rapidly growing. In China, McDonald’s has been waging a fierce competition against Starbucks, a market leader in the country’s coffee industry.

The company has been leveraging its existing infrastructure, including its fast-food restaurants and drive-thrus, to expand its

McCaf offerings and penetrate the coffee market. According to Euromonitor International, McDonald’s increased its market share in the coffee and tea market in China from 1.3% in 2014 to 2.2% in 2019.

One of the advantages that

McCaf has over Starbucks is its lower prices. While Starbucks is known for its premium pricing and high-end offerings,

McCaf offers more affordable options, making it more accessible to a wider range of customers.

Additionally, McDonald’s has been offering combo meals that include coffee, breakfast, or other snacks, which have proven popular among budget-conscious consumers. McDonald’s coffee offerings

Aside from

McCaf, McDonald’s has also been expanding its coffee menu as part of its overall strategy to diversify its offerings and improve its market position.

The company has been introducing new coffee flavors, such as caramel and hazelnut, and offering various coffee sizes and preparations, including iced coffee and lattes. One advantage that McDonald’s has over Starbucks in the coffee market is its convenience.

McDonald’s has over 39,000 locations worldwide, including drive-thrus and 24-hour restaurants, making it easier for customers to grab a cup of coffee on the go or during odd hours. Additionally, McDonald’s offers more than just coffee, providing customers with a diverse menu of fast-food items, including breakfast sandwiches, burgers, and fries.

Despite its lower prices, McDonald’s has been able to compete with Starbucks in the coffee market by leveraging its existing infrastructure and offering competitive prices. The company’s size and global reach make it a formidable competitor, particularly in countries where Starbucks is still expanding its operations.

Other Starbucks Competitors

Tim Horton’s

Tim Horton’s is a Canadian-based multinational fast-food chain known for its coffee, donuts, and other breakfast items. Founded in 1964 in Hamilton, Ontario, Tim Horton’s has since expanded its operations to over 4,000 locations worldwide, including the United States, Canada, and the Middle East.

In terms of pricing, Tim Horton’s offers more affordable options than Starbucks, making it a popular choice among budget-conscious customers. For example, a small coffee at Tim Horton’s typically costs around $1, compared to a small coffee at Starbucks, which can cost around $2.

Additionally, Tim Horton’s has a strong brand and a loyal customer base in Canada, where it is the leading coffee chain. One area where Tim Horton’s has been struggling is its expansion in the United States.

In recent years, the company has faced increasing competition from other fast-food chains, including Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s, which offer similar coffee and breakfast items at competitive prices. Additionally, Tim Horton’s has been criticized for its food quality and service, which has led to declining sales and franchisee complaints.

Peet’s Coffee

Peet’s Coffee is a California-based coffee roasting company founded in 1966 by Alfred Peet. Initially a small coffee shop in Berkeley, California, Peet’s has since expanded its operations to multiple locations across the United States, including New York and Chicago.

The company is known for its high-quality coffee beans, which are roasted in small batches to ensure optimal freshness and flavor. Peet’s has been steadily growing its market share in the coffee industry, with a sales growth of 2.2% in 2020, despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company offers premium coffee at affordable prices, making it a popular choice among coffee lovers who value quality and value. One area where Peet’s has been expanding is its digital presence, with the launch of its mobile app and loyalty program, Peetnik Rewards.

The app allows customers to order ahead, pay, and earn rewards for their purchases, increasing convenience and engagement. Additionally, Peet’s offers a subscription service where customers can receive custom coffee blends regularly delivered to their doorsteps, providing a unique and personalized experience.


Starbucks faces stiff competition from various coffee chains worldwide, from big players such as McDonald’s to smaller specialty coffee shops such as Peet’s Coffee. Despite this competition, Starbucks has managed to maintain its position as a market leader, thanks to its strong brand, high-quality offerings, and global presence.

However, as the coffee market continues to evolve, Starbucks will need to adapt its strategies and offerings to remain competitive and retain its customers.

Global Coffee Brands and

Independent Coffeehouses


Lavazza is an Italian coffee brand founded in Turin in 1895. The company started as a small coffee shop and has since grown to become a global brand, present in over 90 countries.

Lavazza is known for its high-quality coffee blends, which are used by restaurants, cafes, and hotels worldwide. In recent years, Lavazza has been expanding its operations, with a focus on developing new technologies and products.

The company has launched a professional capsule system, providing businesses with a quick and easy way to serve coffee to their customers. Additionally, Lavazza has been investing in sustainability, through initiatives such as the Tierra Project, aimed at supporting coffee farmers and promoting eco-friendly practices.

Independent Coffeehouses

Independent coffee stores have become increasingly popular in recent years, thanks to their unique blends, personal service, and community-focused approach. Independent coffeehouses offer customers a different experience than large chain stores, with a focus on craftsmanship, quality beans, and creative blends.

In London, for example, the independent coffeehouse scene has been booming, with new stores opening regularly and attracting a diverse customer base. These stores offer customers a chance to try new and unusual blends, as well as the chance to socialize and connect with their community.

Additionally, independent coffeehouses often use eco-friendly practices and support local businesses, contributing to sustainable and responsible growth.

Other Coffee Brands


Folgers is an American coffee brand founded in 1850. The company is known for its pre-ground coffee, which is sold in supermarkets and grocery stores nationwide.

Folgers is a popular choice among budget-conscious customers, offering affordable coffee without sacrificing quality. One advantage of Folgers is its cost-effectiveness.

While premium coffee brands such as Starbucks and Lavazza can be expensive, pre-ground coffee like Folgers offers customers comparable quality at a lower price. Additionally, buying pre-ground coffee can save customers money in the long run, as it eliminates the need for costly coffee-making equipment and supplies.

Maxwell House

Maxwell House is an American coffee brand founded in 1892. The company is known for its dark roast coffee and its presence in the dry coffee goods market.

Maxwell House coffee is sold in supermarkets and grocery stores worldwide, and is a popular choice among coffee drinkers who prefer a bold and robust flavor. One advantage of

Maxwell House is its affordability.

Compared to premium coffee brands,

Maxwell House offers similar quality at a lower price, making it a popular choice among budget-conscious customers. Additionally,

Maxwell House has been investing in sustainability, through initiatives such as responsible coffee sourcing and eco-friendly packaging.


The coffee market is highly diverse and offers customers a wide range of options, from premium coffee brands to independent coffeehouses and budget-friendly options like pre-ground coffee. Each of these options provides unique benefits and caters to different tastes and preferences.

As the coffee market continues to evolve, companies will need to stay competitive by identifying new trends and adapting their strategies to meet customer demands.

Tea Brands as Alternatives

Global Tea Brands

While coffee remains the popular choice for many, there are several global tea brands that offer a refreshing and flavorful alternative to coffee. These brands include Tetley, Dilmah, and Tazo, each offering a unique selection of teas that cater to diverse tastes and preferences.

Tetley is a well-known British tea brand founded in 1837. It offers a wide range of teas, including black teas, green teas, herbal teas, and specialty blends.

Tetley is known for its strong, full-bodied black teas and its commitment to sustainability. The company sources its tea leaves responsibly, ensuring fair wages for tea workers and supporting the communities where they operate.

Dilmah is a family-owned tea brand from Sri Lanka, founded in 1988. Dilmah’s teas are single-origin, meaning they come from a specific tea garden or estate, ensuring traceability and quality.

Dilmah is renowned for its commitment to traditional tea production methods and its dedication to ethical business practices. The company also operates the MJF Charitable Foundation, which works towards community development and environmental conservation.

Tazo is a tea brand that was acquired by Starbucks in 1999. Known for its bold and flavorful teas, Tazo offers a wide variety of blends, including black teas, green teas, herbal teas, and specialty teas.

Tazo focuses on creating unique and adventurous flavor combinations, appealing to tea lovers who seek new and exciting taste experiences. Starbucks’ Tea Offerings

As the coffee industry expanded, Starbucks recognized the growing popularity of tea and added a variety of tea options to its menu.

Starbucks offers a range of tea beverages, including classic black teas, green teas, herbal teas, and tea lattes. One of its popular tea offerings is the Chai Tea Latte, made with a blend of black tea, spices, milk, and sweetener.

By incorporating tea into its menu, Starbucks not only caters to a broader customer base but also competes directly with global tea brands. Starbucks has developed its own line of tea products, including Teavana, which offers loose-leaf teas and tea sachets.

This expansion into the tea market has allowed Starbucks to diversify its offerings and provide customers with a wider selection of beverages to choose from.

Luckin Coffee

Luckin Coffee Expansion and Competition in China

Luckin Coffee is a Chinese coffee chain that emerged as a significant competitor to Starbucks in the Chinese market. Founded in 2017, Luckin Coffee quickly expanded its operations by aggressively opening new stores across China and targeting convenience-oriented customers who preferred online ordering and delivery services.

The company adopted a rapid expansion strategy and managed to surpass Starbucks in terms of store count in the country. Luckin Coffee’s expansion rate was unprecedented, and at its peak, it had over 4,500 stores in China.

The company aimed to take advantage of the growing coffee culture in the country and position itself as a more affordable alternative to Starbucks. Its lower-priced menu and focus on delivery services attracted a large customer base, especially among younger consumers.

Luckin Coffee’s Downfall

Unfortunately, Luckin Coffee’s success was short-lived. In 2020, the company became embroiled in a scandal involving fabricated transactions and inflated sales figures.

It was discovered that Luckin Coffee executives had created false records and fabricated financial numbers to mislead investors and artificially inflate the company’s value. This scandal led to a significant decline in Luckin Coffee’s stock value and shattered its reputation.

The company faced regulatory investigations, delisting from the NASDAQ stock exchange, and lawsuits from investors. The downfall of Luckin Coffee served as a cautionary tale about the risks of aggressive expansion and unethical practices in the business world.


The coffee market is not only diverse in terms of different brands and offerings, but also in terms of alternatives, such as tea. Global tea brands like Tetley, Dilmah, and Tazo provide tea lovers with rich and flavorful options.

Additionally, Starbucks has expanded its menu to include a variety of teas, competing with these tea brands directly. In contrast, Luckin Coffee’s rapid expansion and subsequent downfall highlight the risks associated with aggressive expansion strategies and unethical business practices.

The coffee industry is ever-evolving, and companies must navigate challenges and adapt to changing consumer demands to stay competitive and ensure long-term success.

Community Coffee and Bewley’s Coffee

Community Coffee

Community Coffee is a Louisiana-based company that has been a staple in the Southern United States since its founding in 1919. What began as a small coffee roasting business has grown to become the largest family-owned coffee company in the United States.

Community Coffee is known for its commitment to quality and its unique blends that capture the spirit and flavors of Louisiana.

Community Coffee takes pride in its strong ties to the community. The company supports various local organizations and initiatives, focusing on education, healthcare, and the environment.

Community Coffee sources its beans from around the world but is particularly proud of its Louisiana Blend, which incorporates beans from Central and South America to create a rich and smooth flavor profile. Despite its regional focus,

Community Coffee has expanded its distribution beyond the Southern United States.

Its products are available in retail stores nationwide and can also be purchased online.

Community Coffee’s dedication to quality and its deep roots in the Southern culture have earned it a loyal customer base and a strong reputation in the coffee industry.

Bewley’s Coffee and Tea

Bewley’s is an Irish coffee brand with a long and rich history that dates back to 1840. What began as a small tea shop in Dublin has evolved into a global brand synonymous with quality and tradition.

Bewley’s is known for its commitment to sourcing the finest coffee beans and teas from around the world and carefully crafting unique flavor profiles. For many years, Bewley’s operated a historic caf on Grafton Street in Dublin, serving as a cultural hub and meeting place for locals and visitors.

However, in 2020, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and declining foot traffic, Bewley’s announced the closure of the caf. This decision was met with sadness and disappointment from loyal customers and underscored the challenges faced by traditional brick-and-mortar establishments during difficult times.

Despite the caf closure, Bewley’s continues to operate its retail and wholesale business, offering its wide range of coffees and teas to customers around the world. The company places great emphasis on sustainability and ethical sourcing, working closely with farmers and suppliers to ensure fair practices and minimize its environmental impact.

Bewley’s commitment to quality and its strong Irish heritage have contributed to its enduring success in the global coffee market.

Other Coffee Chains

The Coffee Bean

The Coffee Bean is an American coffee chain that was founded in 1963 in Los Angeles. Known for its high-quality coffee and tea beverages, The Coffee Bean has grown to become a popular destination for coffee enthusiasts.

In 2019, The Coffee Bean was acquired by Jollibee Foods Corporation, adding to the chain’s expansion and global presence. The Coffee Bean offers a wide variety of coffee and tea options, from classic favorites to unique creations.

The chain prides itself on its commitment to flavor and freshness, roasting its coffee beans in small batches and using high-quality ingredients. In addition to its beverages, The Coffee Bean also offers a selection of food items, making it a convenient spot for breakfast, lunch, or a quick snack.

Caribou Coffee

Caribou Coffee is a Germany-based coffee chain that was founded in 1992. With a focus on creating a cozy and welcoming atmosphere,

Caribou Coffee has become a popular destination for those seeking a comfortable place to enjoy their coffee.

The chain is known for its commitment to sustainability, environmental responsibility, and community engagement.

Caribou Coffee not only offers a wide range of coffee beverages but also frequently introduces new limited-time offerings and seasonal drinks. The chain has expanded its menu to include a variety of food options, catering to the preferences of its diverse customer base.

Caribou Coffee is particularly known for its holiday initiatives, creating special drinks and treats that add a festive touch to the coffee-drinking experience.

Caribou Coffee has grown steadily over the years and now has locations in several countries around the world. The chain continues to prioritize its commitment to sustainability, using eco-friendly practices and partnering with organizations to support coffee farmers and their communities.


The coffee industry is rich with diverse and unique brands, each offering its own blends, traditions, and strengths.

Community Coffee and Bewley’s Coffee exemplify the value of heritage and tradition, while The Coffee Bean and

Caribou Coffee showcase the global reach and evolving nature of the coffee industry.

As the market continues to grow and change, these coffee chains will need to adapt and innovate to meet the ever-evolving demands and preferences of coffee lovers worldwide.

Dutch Bros and

Caf Bustelo

Dutch Bros

Dutch Bros is an innovative and rapidly expanding coffee chain that originated in Grants Pass, Oregon in 1992. What started as a single espresso pushcart operated by the founders, the Dane and Travis Boersma, has since grown into a popular chain with a dedicated following.

Dutch Bros has set itself apart from traditional coffee chains through its unique menu offerings and a focus on customer experience. Dutch Bros offers a variety of specialty coffee beverages that go beyond the traditional offerings found in many coffee shops.

From the classic Dutch Bros first drink, the Dutch Freeze, to their signature blended energy drinks and creatively flavored coffees, Dutch Bros continually creates new and exciting options for their customers. The chain carefully curates their menu to cater to a specific target market – the younger generation.

Known for its vibrant and energetic atmosphere, Dutch Bros has become a popular destination for teenagers and young adults seeking a vibrant and social coffee experience. Dutch Bros also places a strong emphasis on community engagement and giving back.

As a company, they are deeply committed to supporting local communities through various initiatives and charitable partnerships. This community-centric approach has endeared Dutch Bros to its customers, fostering a sense of loyalty and connection.

Caf Bustelo

Caf Bustelo, a brand that has gained a loyal following, is renowned for its Cuban-style coffee and rich Latin American heritage. Founded by Gregorio Menendez Bustelo in 1928,

Caf Bustelo was created with the intention of bringing the bold flavors and vibrant coffee culture of Latin America to the United States.

Caf Bustelo’s signature blend consists of fine-quality coffee beans, carefully roasted to perfection to produce a bold and full-bodied flavor profile. This robust coffee is typically served in espresso-based drinks and is often enjoyed with a touch of sweetened condensed milk, a nod to its traditional Cuban roots.

Caf Bustelo has become a staple in many Latin American households and has gained popularity among coffee enthusiasts who appreciate its distinct and authentic taste. The brand’s success stems from its ability to evoke a sense of nostalgia, capturing the essence of Latin American coffee culture.

It has resonated not only with the Latin American diaspora but also with individuals intrigued by new and unique flavors. As a result,

Caf Bustelo has expanded its distribution beyond Latin American communities and can now be found in supermarkets and stores across the country.

Bewley’s Coffee and Tea

Bewley’s Coffee and Tea

Bewley’s Coffee and Tea is an Irish coffee brand with a rich history that spans over 180 years. Established in 1840, Bewley’s started as a small family-owned tea shop in Dublin and gradually grew into a well-known brand beloved by locals and visitors alike.

In addition to offering a wide range of coffee and tea products, Bewley’s is renowned for its dedication to quality and sustainability. Bewley’s operates its own roasting facilities, which allows them to carefully craft their blends and ensure the freshness and consistency of their products.

The company is committed to sourcing ethically and sustainably produced coffee beans and teas, taking into consideration the social and environmental impact of their operations. By working closely with farmers and suppliers, Bewley’s contributes to the long-term viability of the coffee and tea industries and supports the livelihoods of those involved.

Like many businesses, Bewley’s faced significant challenges during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The closure of their iconic caf on Grafton Street in Dublin, due to the impact of restrictions and decreased foot traffic, was a difficult decision for the company.

However, Bewley’s remained resilient and focused on adapting to the changing landscape. The brand continued to serve its customers through retail operations and online platforms, allowing individuals to enjoy their favorite Bewley’s coffee and tea from the comfort of their homes.

Bewley’s commitment to quality, sustainability, and its rich Irish heritage have contributed to its enduring success and loyal customer base. It is recognized as a brand that embodies the traditional warmth and hospitality associated with Irish culture, while consistently delivering exceptional coffee and tea experiences.


Dutch Bros,

Caf Bustelo, and Bewley’s Coffee and Tea are unique brands with distinct identities and offerings in the coffee industry. Dutch Bros differentiates itself through its innovative menu selections and youthful target market, while

Caf Bustelo captivates consumers with its Cuban-style brews and Latin American heritage.

On the other hand, Bewley’s stands out for its rich history, quality products, and strong commitment to sustainability. Each of these brands exemplifies the diversity and vibrancy of the coffee landscape, catering to a range of tastes, preferences, and cultural backgrounds.

As the coffee industry evolves, these brands will undoubtedly continue to shape and influence the future of coffee consumption.

Conclusion and Overall Market Analysis

Market trends and growth of independent coffee stores

The coffee market has seen significant growth and diversification in recent years, with independent coffee stores playing a pivotal role. These establishments have capitalized on changing consumer preferences, offering unique blends, personalized service, and a sense of community.

As a result, independent coffee stores have experienced steady growth and have carved out a niche in the highly competitive coffee industry. One of the key market trends driving the growth of independent coffee stores is the increasing demand for high-quality, specialty coffee.

Consumers are becoming more educated and discerning about their coffee choices, seeking unique flavor profiles and a more elevated coffee experience. Independent coffee stores have tapped into this trend by sourcing premium coffee beans, providing artisanal brewing methods, and focusing on the craft of coffee-making.

Moreover, independent coffee stores often prioritize sustainability and ethical sourcing, aligning with the values of many consumers. They strive to build relationships with local farmers and suppliers, ensuring fair wages and environmentally conscious practices.

This emphasis on sustainability resonates with customers who are increasingly aware of the social and environmental impact of their purchasing decisions. Another driving factor behind the success of independent coffee stores is the emphasis on creating a welcoming and personalized experience.

These stores often prioritize customer engagement, cultivating a sense of community and connection. Many independent coffee stores serve as neighborhood gathering spots where people can relax, socialize, and enjoy their favorite cup of coffee.

Starbucks’ positioning and challenges in the coffee market

As the world’s largest and most recognizable coffee chain, Starbucks holds a prominent position in the coffee market. The company has successfully built a globally recognized brand, known for its consistent quality, diverse offerings, and inviting ambiance.

However, Starbucks continues to face challenges in an ever-evolving and highly competitive coffee landsca

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