Starbucks US vs. Starbucks China: how do they compare?

Starbucks is a worldwide entity with over 15000 stores in the United States and over 5,000 stores in China. Starbucks’ color code and appearance are uniforms in all stores, but there are a few differences between the two Starbucks stores. When I first visited Starbucks China, I could barely distinguish it from the ones in the United States, but there were obvious differences, and this inspired me to come up with this post to compare the two regions. You will learn all about the similarities and differences, so read on.

What are the differences between Starbucks US vs. Starbucks China?


Starbucks US

Starbucks China


Cool, Relaxed

Chinese culture, relaxed


Upmarket and Low market

City proximity


Wide range of standard items

Chinese culture-inspired items

Price Range

Normal range

20% higher than all markets

Beverage Sizes

Tall, Grande, Venti, Trenta

Zhong, Da, Chao-Da

Environment Consciousness

Implemented through greener stores

Implemented through greener stores




Benefits and Compensation

Health insurance, paid sick and holiday days, commuter benefits

Health insurance, paid sick and holiday days, housing benefits

Job Opportunity

Over 20,000

Over 50

The flexibility of working hours

Part-time and full-time

Part-time and Full-time

Job Satisfaction




Howard Schultz

Leo Tsoi

Drinks quality


Standard, Chinese twist

Delivery options

Doordash, UberEats, Postmates

Metuian, Alibaba

Starbucks US vs. Starbucks China-How they Compare


Starbucks US

The ambiance in the United States is relaxed and casual with dim lighting for a calm feel. Most stores have low lighting, cool colors, and a library-like atmosphere for a relaxed feel.

Starbucks China has incorporated the Chinese culture into the traditional Starbucks ambiance. This gives a familiar feel without interfering with the Starbucks signature look.

In this category, we get a draw for a relaxed and cool ambiance in both stores.


Starbucks USA has stores in both upmarket and low-market locations. The coffee giant looks at neighborhood income, traffic, and proximity to the major businesses.

Starbucks China has locations in major cities and streets. They look at the traffic and proximity to businesses.

In this category, Starbucks USA wins for covering more types of neighborhoods.


Starbucks USA has an expansive menu that resonates with the American market. It includes coffee drinks, tea, snacks, and sandwiches.

China is known as a tea country, but the coffee culture has slowly taken over, and many middle-class Chinese workers are grabbing a cup of coffee. The menu has all signature Starbucks items with some Chinese twists.

In this category, Starbucks China takes the lead in having a more interesting menu than Starbucks USA.

Price Range

Starbuck USA has a price range of $2 to $6 for its menu items. The price is standardized in all stores across the nation.

Starbucks China charges 20% higher prices than all markets in the world. This has been heavily criticized, but the company explains that the elevated costs are due to the high cost of doing business in China.

In this category, Starbucks USA wins for having affordable prices.

Beverage Sizes

Starbucks China

In the United States, the cup sizes available are tall, Grande, Venti, and Trenta. The sizes represent 12 fluid ounces, 16 fluid ounces, 20 fluid ounces, and 31 fluid ounces, respectively.

Starbucks China has three cup sizes namely Zhong, da, and Chao-da. They mean medium, big, and extra big, respectively. The Chinese Starbucks also has a small cup called xiǎo.

In this category, we get a draw as both regions have similar cup sizes.

Environment Consciousness

Starbucks USA is committed to environmental sustainability. The coffee chain is committed to halving its carbon emissions and giving more than what it takes to the planet. Starbucks has over 2300 greener stores across America.

Starbucks China opened its first greener store in Shanghai in a bid to its commitment to environmental sustainability. Starbucks China is committed to halving its emissions to create a better environment.

In this category, both Starbucks regions are environment conscious, and we get a draw.


Starbucks USA is known for having long queues down the streets. America is known for having the longest queues in most of its stores.

China Starbucks is a success with its multiple stores and the long queues that are apparent on the streets. However, the Starbucks app has eased this by offering delivery and pickup.

In this category, we get a draw as both Starbucks regions have high traffic in their stores.

Benefits and Compensation

On top of the pay rates, Starbucks offers lucrative health insurance and commuter benefits. The employees are entitled to paid sick days and vacations.

The coffee chain gives students part-time jobs for hourly pay, housing subsidy, and comprehensive health insurance for partners and their dependents.

In this category, we get a draw as both regions offer great benefits and compensation.

Job Opportunity

Starbucks employs over 150,000 full-time and part-time employees countrywide. As of September 2022, the company has listed over 20,000 job openings. The jobs range from entry-level to top management opportunities for qualified employees.

Starbucks China has more than 60,000 partners on the Mainland. The job opportunities are available for students, skilled, and unskilled labor. There are currently over 50 job vacancies listed in various stores in China.

This category goes to Starbucks USA for having the most job opportunities.

Flexibility of hours

At Starbucks USA, you can work part-time for 20 hours a week or full-time for 4 hours weekly. The shifts are flexible and are early morning, afternoon, and evening shifts. The partners have plenty of overtime and can work less than 8 hours a day.

Starbucks China adopted the career coffee break where a long-serving partner can apply for an unpaid leave of up to 12 months. The hours are also flexible, with part-time 20 hours and full-time 40 hours.

The two regions have flexible working hours for partners, which gives us a draw.

Job satisfaction

According to a survey of Starbucks partners, it was revealed that partners have 82% job satisfaction. This is a great figure and shows that almost all partners are happy with their jobs. This can be due to benefits, and good pay, with a good work-life balance.

In China, Starbucks was recognized as the employer of choice in the country in 2018 for the fourth consecutive time. According to a survey on Starbucks employee motivation in Beijing, over 60% of partners were satisfied with their job.

This category goes to Starbucks USA for rating 22% higher job satisfaction than Starbucks China.


Starbucks USA, under the leadership of Howard Schultz, rates 54% CEO approval on Glassdoor. Most partners have faith in the top management but have reservations about the mid-level managers. Some describe them as disorganized and unfair.

On the other hand, Starbucks China is under the leadership of CEO Leo Tsoi. According to surveys, Starbucks has the lowest turnover rate in the industry. The coffee chain has also made great success in a culture where tea is the prevalent drink.

In this category, we get a draw for both regions, having successful management.

Drinks Quality

Starbucks USA has standard handcrafted drinks all over the country. You will not walk into a Starbucks and get a drink or food item that tastes different from other stores.

Starbucks China has some Chinese drinks with a twist, specially designed for the market. According to many reviews, the drinks in China are much better than in America.

This category goes to Starbucks China for having better drinks.

Delivery Options

Starbucks US

Starbucks USA has a variety of delivery options like UberEats, DoorDash, and Postmates. The apps have all the menu items and deliver to all customers throughout the US.

On the other hand, Starbucks China has an expansive delivery network with apps like Meituan and Alibaba. This is meant to expand delivery services to all parts of the country.

In this category, we get another draw as both regions have sufficient delivery options.

Starbucks US vs. Starbucks China- A Comparison Overview

Starbucks US overview


Starbucks US is the largest coffee chain in the United States with 15,444 stores countrywide, with California having the most, stores with 2959 locations, followed by Texas with 1215. New York City has the most stores, with 241, and Chicago seconds with 184. The world’s largest Starbucks is in Chicago.


Current Barista

I love my co-workers and the great health insurance at Starbucks. I have been in this company for ten years now, and I still love working here.


Love this company’s benefits and flexible working hours, but the pay can do better.


I have been into almost all coffee shops, and nothing beats Starbucks. I love the Frappuccino blends and the refreshers. The partners are friendly, and the baristas always smile.

Starbucks China-Overview


As mentioned earlier, Starbucks China has 5400 stores distributed across the country. These stores are found in 200 cities across mainland China. The city with the most store in Shanghai, with over 600 stores in its major streets. The Shanghai roastery is located on 789 West Nanjing Road and is the largest in the world.



I visited the Shanghai reserve, and it’s breathtaking. The prices are high, but the services and the coffee are great.


I love this job ever since I started it. I work part-time and go to school. The pay rates are fair, and the benefits are superb.

Final Verdict: So, which is better? Starbucks US vs. Starbucks China

Both of the Starbucks in these regions are great, and we have a draw in this contest. The Chinese Starbucks and the Starbucks US have many similarities, and the benefits are the same. The services are superb in all regions, and the quality of the products remains high. Both regions’ stores have a great ambiance, although each is unique to its respective market.


Does CHINA Starbucks coffee taste different from the coffee in Starbucks US?

Most coffee drinks are standard at Starbucks worldwide, but China has some unique drinks inspired by Chinese culture.

Which one has more Starbucks locations between Starbucks CHINA and US?

Starbucks US has 10,000 more locations than China.

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