Expect Starbucks In Cuba.... Including Within Starwood & Marriott Properties

There is little doubt that Seattle, Washington-based Starbucks Corporation (2015 revenues exceeding US$14 billion), will have a presence within properties to be managed in the Republic of Cuba by Stamford, Connecticut-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (2015 revenues exceeded US$5.7 billion) and Bethesda, Maryland-based Marriott International (2015 revenues exceeded US$14 billion).  Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide is being acquired by Marriott International.

Starbucks has a presence within many branded properties managed by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide and Marriott International.  While Starbucks will certainly seek stand-alone location(s) within the Republic of Cuba, with a focus upon resort properties, there will likely be operations within hotels- both for retail and foodservice (restaurants, room service, in-room coffee makers, etc.).

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide will be managing three properties in the Republic of Cuba (Gran Caribe-owned Hotel Inglaterra; Habaguanex-owned Hotel Santa Isabel and Gaviota-owned Hotel Quinta Avenida, which will be re-branded as a Four Points by Sheraton).  Gaviota is controlled by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of the Republic of Cuba.

Marriott International is in discussions with Republic of Cuba government-operated companies to identify properties to manage within the Republic of Cuba.

The Libertad Act ("Helms-Burton") of 1996 authorizes individuals and companies subject to United States law to engage in direct negotiations with the government of the Republic of Cuba to settle claims registered with the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission under the auspice of the United States Department of Justice.  As a result of a series of mergers and acquisitions during the last fifty-seven years, a US$51,128,927.00 claim initially made by New York-based International Telephone & Telegraph Corporation (ITT) is now controlled by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide (and, soon, Marriott International), which can use this value as a means to secure opportunities within the Republic of Cuba.

On 21 March 2000, Starbucks Coffee Company (Nasdaq: SBUX) and Marriott International, Inc. (NYSE: MAR) reported a long-term licensing agreement to open coffeehouse locations in select Marriott Hotels, Resorts and Suites; Marriott Conference Centers; and Renaissance Hotels, Resorts and Suites properties.  “Starbucks and Marriott are a natural fit,” said Jim Alling, senior vice president, Business Alliances for Starbucks. “Both companies are intensely focused on offering unsurpassed customer service, best-of-class products and convenience.”  Under the long-term licensing agreement, fully-branded Starbucks licensed stores, kiosks or carts will open in Marriott International properties across the United States and Canada. The licensed units will offer handcrafted espresso beverages, drip coffee and a selection of freshly baked pastries.  The agreement, which remains in force, allows Starbucks to reach more consumers in a new venue and gives Marriott the ability to offer the leading brand of specialty coffee to their guests. 

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is a global leading lodging company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, with more than 4,300 properties in 85 countries and territories.  Marriott International reported revenues of nearly $14 billion in fiscal year 2014. The company operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts under 19 brands, including: The Ritz-Carlton®, Bvlgari®, EDITION®, JW Marriott®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Renaissance® Hotels, Marriott Hotels®, Delta Hotels and Resorts®, Marriott Executive Apartments®, Marriott Vacation Club®, Gaylord Hotels®, AC Hotels by Marriott®, Courtyard®, Residence Inn®, SpringHill Suites®, Fairfield Inn & Suites®, TownePlace Suites®, Protea Hotels® and MoxyHotels®. Marriott has been consistently recognized as a top employer and for its superior business ethics. The company also manages the award-winning guest loyalty program, Marriott Rewards® and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards® program, which together surpass 54 million members.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc. is one of the leading hotel and leisure companies in the world with more than 1,270 properties in some 100 countries and over 180,000 employees at its owned and managed properties. Starwood is a fully integrated owner, operator and franchisor of hotels, resorts and residences under the renowned brands: St. Regis®, The Luxury Collection®, W®, Design Hotels, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Sheraton®, Four Points® by Sheraton, Aloft®, Element®, and the recently introduced Tribute Portfolio™. The company also boasts one of the industry’s leading loyalty programs, Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG®).