Starbucks expects to operate more than 1,000 stores in the UK in the long term. The Seattle-based coffee chain has nearly 200 already open and is now claiming leadership in consumer awareness of coffee chains in Britain.

Founder Howard Schultz said the UK would continue to grow, while at the same time Starbucks looked to open up other European markets. It had already launched in Switzerland , but Schultz was cagey about which country would be next on the list.

He said that decision would depend on finding the right business partners.

Schultz was speaking to M&C Report Online News after giving the keynote address at last week's Internorga Foodservice Forum in Hamburg. His visit and accompanying publicity has raised expectations that Germany may be the next target.

Schultz said: "Our reputation goes ahead of us."

Worldwide, Starbucks now has 20,000 stores with sales of

US$2.5bn. This year Starbucks was voted the most admired foodservice company in the United States, ahead of McDonald's, by Fortune magazine.

• Howard Schultz spoke to M&C Report's Peter Martin. See his profile in the March/April issue of the M&C Report newsletter out at the end of March.