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Sozzi: 3 Starbucks' Overseas Surprises

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Basically there are roughly three things that investors and casual watchers have heard regarding Starbucks (SBUX - Get Report) in the past five months:

  1. Woah...coffee bean price surge. Best investment at the moment: bags of Starbucks stuck in the freezer and sold to local supermarkets in 2015.
  2. Woah...Starbucks is just beyond prolific in mobile payment. Take that eBay's (EBAY - Get Report) PayPal.
  3. Woah...the Oprah Chai is coming on April 29. Swoon.

If one didn't know any better, you would think nothing else was going on at the increasingly global Starbucks. Fortunately I know better, and want to pass on that knowledge to you. Here are three things to discuss:

In China, Starbucks purchases are viewed as an instrument to demonstrate a person's social status. Quite the opposite then in the U.S., huh, where Starbucks is looked at as a mere commodity and a place for teens to take selfies holding caloric iced bombs before heading off to Chipotle (CMG - Get Report). By 2015, Starbucks will have 1,500 stores in China, up 1,499 from the original one opened in Beijing in 1999.

Through a 50/50 joint venture, Starbucks now operates 43 stores in India. Unlike the grab and go culture of the U.S. arguably started by McDonald's (MCD - Get Report), the culture in India is such that individuals tend to sit in cafes for a period of time. I think this will play right into Starbucks' rapidly growing food menu.

Last but not least the United States, where by 2015 there will be 900 more Starbucks drive-thrus open for business than there are today. Based on my research, however, Starbucks will have to completely rethink the workflow of its employees (and the interior store layout) to efficiently handle drive-thrus, more complicated drinks, and a rising number of food options. I do not rule out at some point Starbucks shutting all its stores for one day in the afternoon for a global training day. The precedent is there: all Starbucks U.S. stores were closed on February 28, 2008 for several hours for a national training following the return of Howard Schultz.

Oh yeah, I stalked a Starbucks drive-thru - watch what happened here.

UGH, Yes there IS a Starbucks Secret Menu

There are all sorts of secrets surrounding Starbucks that you should know about.  Watch this to learn really cool things to share at the office today.

Watch here.

-- By Brian Sozzi CEO of Belus Capital Advisors, analyst to TheStreet.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.



At the time of publication, Sozzi held no position in the stocks mentioned.

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