Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Announces Major China Expansion

Korean retailer E-Land will partner with California-based Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to build more than 700 new coffee shops in China beginning this fall.

E-Land currently operates 20 restaurant brands, Café Lugo outlets in Seoul and Taipei and 7,000 fashion outlets in China. The company’s 240 brands include food, hotel, leisure, entertainment, amusement parks and fashion. Annual sales are estimated at $10 billion.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Logo.  (PRNewsFoto/The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf Logo. (PRNewsFoto/The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf)

“We are excited to lend a hand in shaping a lasting, high-quality coffee culture with Chinese tastes in mind,” writes Jeff Schroeder, CBTL’s senior vp of operations. CBTL, which operates in 28 markets, opened its 1000th coffee shop in Los Angeles in June. Tea accounts for as much as 20% of total sales at CBTL locations, a ratio higher than tea sold in Starbucks outlets.

The expansion into China’s larger cities will make CBTL competitive with Starbucks which announced this spring it will increase its China store count to 3,400 by 2020. Starbucks operates 5,000 stores in the Asia Pacific Region. Starbucks operates more than 1,700 stores making China is second largest and fastest growing market. Shanghai now has more Starbucks outlets than any city in the world.

E-Land President Choi Jong Yang told Nation’s Restaurant News that the South Korean company’s Chinese reach combined with CBTL’s global brand recognition creates a competitive partnership.

Yang predicted “the combination…. will grow successfully as a major coffee brand in the China coffee industry.”

“Together with E-Land’s vast retail experience and success to ensure our continued growth in China, we’re proud to put our Southern California style of hand roasted coffee and whole leaf teas on the map in yet another country,” said Schroeder.

Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, founded in 1963, was acquired by Advent International with Hong Kong-based firms CDIB Capital and Mirae Asset Private Equity in 2013.

In January CBTL named Andrew Nathan senior vice president of the Asia Pacific region with a mandate to expand operations. Nathan, based in Singapore, is a former Starbucks executive who previously headed Domino Pizza’s Asia Pacific region.

Source: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Nation’s Restaurant News