Starbucks to hire 150 people for its first Italian store

MILAN, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp said on Friday it was starting to recruit 150 people for its first outlet in Italy, the home of the espresso and a market the world's biggest coffee seller has yet to tap.

Starbucks has outlets in countries across Europe and around the world, but its plan to launch a high-end Reserve Roastery in Milan will be its first bid to attract Italian coffee drinkers.

The U.S. firm plans to launch the outlet in the autumn, offering coffee enthusiasts the chance to watch the process from roasting beans to pouring a shot, as well as tasting a range of coffees. It will be the first of its kind in Europe.

Starbucks has till now launched one Reserve Roastery, in its hometown of Seattle, opening in 2014. The company reportedly spent $20 million on the outlet. It says it also plans to open roasteries in New York and Shanghai in 2018.

After the launch in Milan, its Italian commercial partner and licensee Percassi will open more typical Starbucks shops in the city later in the year, the company said.

A total of 300 people will be hired for its Italian stores in 2018, it said.

Other coffee makers like Lavazza have opened shops in Italy's financial capital, reflecting global competition among major brands to capture a growing market for people prepared to pay a premium for quality espresso coffees. (Reporting by Elisa Anzolin; Editing by Edmund Blair)