Starbucks Licensed vs Starbucks Corporate Owned Stores: What is the real difference?

If you are looking to enjoy great drinks and food items, Starbucks is what you are looking for. Starbucks prides itself on being a premier coffee giant that is loved by many people. however, some people are always wondering what is the difference between Starbucks Licensed and Starbucks Corporate owned Stores.

Having interacted with Starbucks for a long period, I came to understand how this coffee house operates. Therefore, I developed this post to help you know the real difference between the two types of stores.

What are the differences between Starbucks Licensed vs Starbucks Corporate Owned Stores?


Starbucks Licensed Store

Starbucks Corporate Owned Store


Has incorporated standard restaurant design.

Have a good lighting system with amazing arranged furniture providing space for interaction


The menu is designed by Starbucks corporate. The menu also accommodates local coffee drinks.

Has a diverse menu with many signature drinks

Environmental Consciousness

Reduces waste generation, uses recycled products

Uses recyclable materials. Uses dishwashers to minimize water usage.


Well designed with a touch of local culture as well as using the Starbucks siren logo

Well-designed interior and exterior


Uses both company and own equipment

Use the company signature equipment

Training and Support

The training and support are from the Starbucks company

provides proper training and support to its employees


Receive promotion Support from the company

Has an immense promotional system


Provides amazing food

Offers great-tasting high-quality food items

Opening Costs

High opening cost. Licensing fee, need to have liquid assets

Opening costs are relatively low

Store Requirements

Have own employees, and follow the Starbucks branding system. Have proper location

The store requirements will be met by the company

Application Process

Vigorous application process

Easy and smooth process

Online Visits

Has high online visits

Has high online visits

Starbucks Licensed vs Starbucks Corporate Owned Stores – How they compare.


Starbucks Licensed vs Starbucks Corporate Owned Stores

Starbucks license provides its customers with a Standard restaurant design where they can hang out and enjoy their favorite drinks.

On the other hand, Starbucks corporate stores provide great light in its stores. In addition, the corporate stores have a well-arranged furniture system that is capable of providing space for interaction.

It is a draw in this category since both of the stores provide a favorable environment to their customers.


Starbucks Licensed depends on Starbucks company to support it with the menu. Most of the items on the menu are almost similar to other Starbucks stores.

On the other side, Starbucks Corporate stores have a diverse menu items, since most of the drinks and foods are a signature of the Starbucks company.

It is a win for Starbucks Corporate since it has a more diverse menu

Environmental Consciousness

Starbucks’ Licensed stores have taken it upon themselves to take part in environmental conservation by reducing waste generations by employing the use of recycled products.

On the flip side, Starbucks Corporate stores are very keen on issues about the environment. They use dishwashers to minimize water usage, and also use recyclable products.

It is a draw in this category since both Starbucks Licensed and corporate-owned stores participate actively in environmental conservation activities.


Starbucks Licensed store design incorporates the Standard Starbucks design with a touch of the local culture making it attractive. Many Starbucks Licensed stores are required to have the Starbucks signature design, which has a siren logo.

On the other hand, Starbucks’ Corporate owned store boasts of having great designs with elegant interiors and exteriors. It bears the signature design of Starbucks company. Its designs can be spotted almost immediately.

It is therefore a draw in this category since both Starbucks Licensed and Corporate Stores have almost the same designs.


Starbucks Licensed stores are required to use the equipment that is supplied by Starbucks company. The equipment used is similar to others used in other Starbucks stores. However, some stores use their own equipment.

Starbucks Corporate-owned stores use equipment that only Starbucks has prescribed to be used in its stores. All the equipment used in the preparation of drinks and foods at these stores is tested and approved and the new high-technology equipment is used by this store.

Since all the equipment used in these two stores is provided by the Starbucks company, it is, therefore, a draw in this category.

Training and Support.

 Starbucks Corporate Owned Stores vs Starbucks Licensed

Starbucks company provides training and support to any Licensed store under it. The training will be for the entire store employees as well as the management. Training is important since it helps the new business joining Starbucks be accustomed to Starbucks operations.

On the flip side, Starbucks corporate stores enjoy full training and support because they are company operated. Recruitment and learning, as well as development, are done by the company.

It is a win for Starbucks Corporate stores since they receive vigorous training and support.


Starbucks Licensed stores take part in the promotional strategies that the company is using to scale its services. These stores enjoy the support it receives from Starbucks in terms of promotion it could through bonus free drinks among others.

On the other hand, Starbucks Corporate stores are lucky to receive and have immense promotion systems. These corporate-owned stores use many strategies to remain relevant to their clients and have an edge against their competitors. And the promotions have helped in keeping this company afloat.

It is therefore a draw in this category since both Starbucks Licensed and corporate-owned stores are greatly involved in the promotion of its products.


Starbucks’ Licensed stores provide amazing food to the ever-growing number of customers visiting its store. The quality of food has been elevated to meet the standard that Starbucks is known for. This has been achieved through continuous training and support.

On the other side, Starbucks’ Corporate owned store presents great-tasting and high-quality food items to its customers. You can never go wrong with Starbucks corporate-owned store food.

It is yet another draw because both Starbucks’ Licensed and Corporate owned stores provide great food to many of Starbucks’ new and returning customers.

Opening Costs.

The initial required opening cost for Starbucks’ Licensed store is very high. This is so since you will be required to pay the licensing fee. In addition to that, you will be required to have liquid assets for you to be considered for the license. So, if you are looking forward to having a Starbucks Licensed store you should set aside a good amount so that you can achieve your dream.

On the other hand, Starbucks’ Corporate owned store requires low opening costs as much of the capital needed will be footed by the company. Additionally, Starbucks’ corporate-owned store does not have to pay for the licensing fees, making it easy for it to be established.

It is a win for Starbucks’ Corporate owned store since it has little opening costs.

Store Requirements

For your store to be licensed by Starbucks you need to have a good store location with a good flow of traffic, have a liquid asset. You also need to follow the Starbucks branding system, have employees, and lastly, make sure your business is thriving well so that Starbucks can capitalize on that.

On the other hand, Starbucks’ Corporate owned store requirement is met by the company itself. It is up to Starbucks company to find a suitable location that has a high flow of people. When hiring, it is the company that will recruit suitable people for available positions.

It is a win for Starbucks’ Corporate-owned stores since it has few requirements for its stores to be functional.

Application Process

Starbucks Licensed

The process of applying for a Starbucks license is a vigorous one. Starbucks does not offer licenses just to anyone ready to apply. On the application you need to provide, your name, address, education, financial Statement, business history, business assets, and liabilities among other requirements. So, after you have fulfilled all the requirements, they will evaluate your business and if you meet all the requirements, you will be listed as Starbucks Licensed store.

On the flip side, Starbucks’ corporate-owned store does not have to undergo the heavy burden of the application process. Instead, it has an easy time in its establishment.

It is a win for Starbucks’ Corporate owned store since it has a limited application process.

Online Visits.

Starbucks’ Licensed store has made waves by having new customers on its online platform. The increase in online visits has been attributed to the quality-of-service customers receive. It is a good move that increases the revenue of the company.

On the other hand, Starbucks’ Corporate owned Store also has an immense online visit that is growing every single day. The store saw this increase go high during the pandemic. This has increased company profit.

It is therefore a draw in this category since both of them have had an increased online visits.

Starbucks Licensed vs Starbucks Corporate Owned Stores – A Comparison Overview

Starbucks Licensed Stores Overview

Howard Schultz is the man behind Starbucks’ success who believed in social interaction. He purchased Starbucks from its original owners in 1987. His strategy was inclined toward founding many stores. He got the idea of licensing existing coffee houses as a way to get access to capital and also to build a reputation for Starbucks in international and new markets.

Starbucks has over 15 800 licensed stores, out of these stores, 4207 are located in China, and 8190 are in America. Well, the feature that makes Starbucks Licensed store unique is the fact that it offers customers great coffee experiences that they love, in addition, it has a custom store design that customers can identify with easily.

With Starbucks offering its support to Licensed stores, the employees are very much happy as they get a high standard of training and are in a position to receive great benefits that Starbucks provides to its partners.

Starbucks Corporate Owned Store Overview

Starbucks was founded by three gentlemen; Gordon Bowker, Jerry Baldwin, and Zev Siegl in 19971. It was later sold to Howard Schultz who then oversaw a massive expansion of the coffee house. By this time the company had over 100 employees serving in 11 stores. Howard was very keen to expand the number of Starbucks stores as quickly as possible. Later the Corporate owned stores grew in numbers.

Starbucks takes pride in having more than 16900 stores. Where the United States is home to over 8860 corporate-owned stores, China comes in second with over 4980 stores. Starbucks’ Corporates owned store maintains every aspect of its brand and places customers’ experience at the core of its operation. Something that makes them unique.

Many employees are very delighted in working with the giant multinational because it offers great benefits as well as great compensation packages. Most of the partners have positive reviews about Starbucks Corporate-owned stores.

Final Verdict: So, which is Better? – Starbucks Licensed vs Starbucks Corporate Owned Stores

Starbucks Corporate Owned Store is better than Starbucks Licensed. Though the two of them are seemingly the same to the majority of people they have distinct features that make the difference. Starbucks Corporate Owned Store proves to be better since it has a diverse menu, it also provides good training and support to its employees, and it requires fairly affordable opening costs.

What gives Starbucks Corporate an edge over Starbucks Licensed stores is that the storage requirements are very low, and its application process is smooth. In as much as the two of them have these minor differences their main aim is to market Starbucks to as many people as possible.


Which is more profitable between Starbucks corporate-owned and licensed stores?

Starbucks Corporate owned store is more profitable as it requires little opening cost and many customers

Which is more popular among Starbucks corporate-owned and licensed stores?

Starbucks Corporate owned is more popular since it has many stores spread in various locations

Which is more cost-friendly to start between Starbucks corporate-owned and licensed stores?

Starbucks corporate-owned is cost friendly to start it has limited licensing fees and many store requirements.