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Starbucks can succeed in Italy, but only if they embrace their heritage as an American consumer experience.

They can't compete on coffee alone: Italy wrote the book. Same with the whole idea of café culture. Europe was there first. It's gotta be about the U.S. of A.

And that's a tougher sell these days, thanks to politics. But I'm sure Starbucks will find the right moment. And then Italians can enjoy hard seats; over-roasted, inexpensive coffee blends; and the joys of a 400-calorie coffee drink. ;-)

Daniel -- this is becoming a conversation to have in one of those little espresso bars with many stuzzichini (savories) and this great group of people here. You have added the whole dimension of slow vs. fast food culture to the discussion in your post, which Timothy here picks up on nicely.

Timothy -- what nice company. Should we head to Caffe' Concerto to continue the exchange? I'm for it!

Valeria - brilliant piece of analysis. I'm not a coffee drinker per se (more into frappes), but the allure of a cozy coffee shop is what entices me. This is why Starbucks has caught on in this country; it has been able to emulate the experience over the product. People are not purchasing coffee; they are purchasing intimacy, friendship, and the interactive experience.

We in the U.S. are very chain-driven. Our mindset is convenience and speed. Starbucks caters to the "fast food" mentality of those who want it, while providing the opportunity for social interaction for those who do prefer to slow down and savor.

Will Starbucks ever succeed in Italy? Highly doubtful. The cultural differences you detailed in your post really make me want to hop on a plane to Italy, however.

Great thoughts!

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