As one of the government’s designated priority destinations known as the “New Balis”, Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara has flourished into a gateway to many exotic destinations in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT).
It has led to US coffee giant Starbucks opening its store in the west tip of the island of Flores.
Situated in the strategic location of Labuan Bajo Marina and Executive Port, Starbucks Labuan Bajo officially opened on Saturday, May 18, one day after the coffee chain celebrated its 17th anniversary.
“Today marks another milestone for Starbucks as we expand our store portfolio to 403 stores in 32 cities. As part of our 17th anniversary celebration, we are proud to welcome our customers in Labuan Bajo. We hope by being here, in the ‘10 New Bali’ destination, tourists now can enjoy their great cups of coffee to begin their adventure trips in Labuan Bajo,” said Anthony Cottan, director of Starbucks Indonesia.
Located in the eastern part of Indonesia, Labuan Bajo boasts enchanting panoramic views as well as breathtaking beaches and underwater scenes. Labuan Bajo is the entry point to Komodo National Park, the only place in the world where people can see the endangered Komodo dragons in their natural habitat.
The Labuan Bajo store design highlights the local community’s heritage, with the store’s facade, community table and side partition showing tenun (handwoven fabric) pattern. The facade mimics the weaving patterns of local tenun by combining a variety of wood tones, in the form of coffee farms in Flores with the surrounding mountains.
With a capacity of more than 100 seats, the shop’s furniture were manufactured and sourced locally. “We try to make not only many stores, but something that is personal and unique about this location,” Anthony said, adding that Starbucks Indonesia would continue to innovate and create things with a nod to local values, while meeting the evolving needs of customers across Indonesia.
Although the Labuan Bajo store is located in a small city, Anthony emphasized that the store would offer the Starbucks experience found all over the world. “Its important to say that this store in Labuan Bajo is gonna serve all the drinks you’d find in Jakarta, Singapore, Hong Kong or New York. We try to bring a world-class experience to Labuan Bajo,” he said.
Along with the store’s grand opening, the Starbucks Indonesia team also visited SDN 02 Labuan Bajo elementary school to donate books and stationery. Led by Anthony, the Starbucks team shared about their works to the children.
“Every store is important, because each store has to mean something to the people who live here. And we have to be a part of that community,” Anthony said.
He also said the Labuan Bajo store was special as Starbucks had provided its Indonesian coffee mix, the Komodo Dragon, for over 20 years, long before the company decided to open the store in the area. The mix is also sold worldwide.
“We are very proud that people around the world have seen this, and maybe it’s helped to raise the level of awareness about Komodo dragons when they saw this coffee,” Anthony said.
In the near future, Starbucks has set its eyes on other “New Bali” destinations for its new stores, including Banten’s Tanjung Lesung and Mandalika in Lombok. The coffee chain will also expand its business in the eastern part of Indonesia in the next two years.
With 403 stores across the archipelago, Starbucks Indonesia has now become the fifth-largest Starbucks by store count in Asia, after China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. The company has set a target to overtake Taiwan next year, and become the fourth-largest in the region with 500 stores across Indonesia. The company is confident that it could have at least 1,000 stores across Indonesia in 2030.