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Our Heritage in MENA 

Our story begins in 1999 with the opening of the first Starbucks store in the Middle East. In Souq Sharq, Kuwait, our first store has proudly served the local community for over 20 years.

Since then, we have opened more than 200 Starbucks stores in Kuwait and continue to invest in our local communities and the people we serve. 

To build more meaningful connections over coffee, we continue to provide the Starbucks Experience that we know our customers expect from us and meet them where and how they want us to be.

Today, we operate more than 2000 Starbucks stores across 13 countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and  Türkiye, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan. We could not do this without the dedication of our 21000 green apron partners (employees) across the regions, who serve our carefully handcrafted beverages to millions of Starbucks customers each day.


Our coffee craft and locally sourced products

To understand how we handcraft the perfect cup of coffee, we must start at the very beginning. The journey of Starbucks finest Arabica coffee beans originates from farmers in Africa and Asia and Latin America, who tend to the beans with the same level of care as our green apron partners (employees) who finally serve it. We are fully committed to providing holistic support for farmers and their families through Starbucks Coffee and Farmer Equity (C.A.F.E.) Practices, which has been the cornerstone of our ethical sourcing approach to coffee buying and sourcing since 2004.

Our beans travel through our international sourcing teams, passing through Starbucks Roasteries in Amsterdam (the Netherlands) and Milan (Italy) before arriving in Kuwait, where we ensure that every cup is of the highest quality. 

We also work hard to deliver high quality baked goods, cakes and sandwiches available in our stores, which are all freshly made at the Alshaya Group state of the art Central Food Production Facility in Al Dajeej, near Kuwait International Airport. We source local ingredients and produce from the very best suppliers across the country, from the milk in our beverages to the fruit and vegetables in our salads and sandwiches – including our most popular Turkey and Cheese Croissant.

Local partnerships are the bedrock of our Starbucks business in Kuwait; with more than 100 trusted, local suppliers, partners, and companies coming together to help us meet and serve our customers wherever they are in their day, every time.

Our partners and local communities

From Drive Thrus and university campuses to residential neighbourhoods and shopping malls like the Avenues, the Starbucks Experience has become an important part of uplifting people’s daily coffee rituals. More than 2,000 green apron partners (employees) from around the world serve our Kuwait customers each and every day across the country.

However, our connection to the local communities we serve is only the start. Since 2007, we have supported over 700 local students graduating from the PAM (Public Authority of Manpower) work experience programme at Starbucks in Kuwait. We also work closely to collaborate with local entrepreneurs and invest in local talent to continue introducing exciting new local products and experiences for our partners and customers to enjoy. 


About Alshaya Group

Alshaya Group is a dynamic family-owned enterprise, first established in Kuwait in 1890. With a consistent record of growth and innovation, Alshaya Group is one of the world’s leading brand franchise operators, offering an unparalleled choice of well-loved international brands to customers. 

Alshaya Group’s portfolio extends across MENA, Türkiye, and Europe, with thousands of stores, cafes, restaurants, and leisure destinations, as well as a large scale online and digital business.   

Operating in multiple sectors including Fashion, Food, Health & Beauty, Pharmacy, Home Furnishings and Leisure & Entertainment, Alshaya Group colleagues are united by a commitment to authentically deliver great customer service and brand experiences.  

Fresh, modern, and relevant, Alshaya’s constantly evolving portfolio reflects the choices and lifestyle of its customers. From flagship stores and restaurants in prestige malls, through to local coffee shops, drive-thrus and online, Alshaya Group brings customers the brands they love in the places they want to be.  Brands such as Starbucks, H&M, Mothercare, Debenhams, American Eagle Outfitters, P.F. Chang’s, The Cheesecake Factory, The Body Shop, M.A.C, Victoria’s Secret, Boots, Pottery Barn and KidZania. 


Starbucks News in MENA

Donation to Morocco earthquake relief efforts.

Starbucks achieves first LEED platinum store in GCC.

Donates to Turkiye and Syria earthquake relief efforts.

Alshaya Technical opens first excellence centre in Dubai.

Alshaya Groups opens Central Food Production facility in Riyadh.




Statement from Starbucks Corporation

Facts About Starbucks Middle East 

Though our roots are in the United States, we are a global company with stores in 86 markets, including over 1,900 stores in 11 Middle Eastern and North African markets employing more than 19,000 green apron partners (employees). In markets where we do business, we are proud to be a part of the fabric of the local community – working directly with local business partners who operate our stores, employing thousands of local citizens, serving millions of customers and positively impacting many others through our support of local neighborhoods and cities.

Our 400,000 partners around the globe have diverse views about a wide range of topics. Regardless of that spectrum of beliefs, Starbucks has been and remains a non-political organization. Neither Starbucks nor the company’s former chairman, president and ceo Howard Schultz provide financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in any way.

What we do believe in, and remain focused on, is staying true to our company’s long-standing heritage – simply connecting with our partners and customers over a cup of high-quality coffee and offering the best experience possible to them – regardless of geographical location.

Questions and Answers:

Is it true that Starbucks or Howard Schultz provides financial support to Israel?

No. This is absolutely untrue. Rumors that Starbucks or Howard provides financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army are unequivocally false. Starbucks is a publicly held company and as such, is required to disclose any corporate giving each year through a proxy statement.

Has Starbucks ever sent any of its profits to the Israeli government and/or Israeli army?

No. This is absolutely untrue.

Is it true that Starbucks closed its stores in Israel for political reasons?

No. We do not make business decisions based on political issues. We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market. After many months of discussion with our partner we came to this amicable decision. While this was a difficult decision for both companies, we believe it remains the right decision for our businesses.

Do you have plans to re-open should the opportunity arise?

We decided to dissolve our partnership in Israel in 2003 due to the on-going operational challenges that we experienced in that market.

When and where the business case makes sense and we see a fit for the Starbucks brand in a market we will work closely with a local partner to assess the feasibility of offering our brand to that community. We will therefore continue to assess all opportunities on this basis. At present, we will continue to grow our business in the Middle East as we have been very gratified by the strong reception of the brand in the region. We continue to work closely with our business partner, Alshaya Group, in developing our plans for the region.

Do you work with a Middle East partner to operate Starbucks stores?

Through a licensing agreement with trading partner and licensee MH Alshaya Co. WLL, a private Kuwait family business, Starbucks has operated in the Middle East since 1999. Today Alshaya Group, which is recognized as one of the leading and most influential brand franchise enterprises in the region, operates more than 1,900 Starbucks stores spanning from North Africa through the Middle East and Türkiye, to Central Asia.

We are extremely fortunate and proud to have forged a successful partnership for over 20 years with Alshaya Group and look forward to building on this success.

In which Middle Eastern and North African markets do you operate?

We partner with Alshaya Group to operate Starbucks stores in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Türkiye and United Arab Emirates in the Middle East and North Africa region. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with so many communities, and we are committed to providing the Starbucks Experience while respecting the local customs and cultures of each market we are a part of. We are also committed to hiring locally, providing jobs to thousands of local citizens in the markets where we operate.


This updates a statement originally posted to the Starbucks Newsroom in 2010, updated October 2023.