File Photo: IOL

INTERNATIONAL - Starbucks Corp said on Thursday it would give its longtime partner Mexico’s Alsea SAB the rights to operate its cafes in France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg as the coffee chain looks to trim costs and battle competition.

Alsea already franchises more than 900 Starbucks stores in Latin America.

US restaurant chains typically seek to cut overhead costs by franchising their store operations to third parties instead of operating them themselves.

Starbucks’ move also comes at a time when it is facing increasing competition on its home turf. The company is undergoing an organizational restructuring, including cutting jobs and trimming other costs.

For the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, the coffee chain said it plans to restructure its back-office support functions, close a support center in Amsterdam and keep a coffee roasting facility in the Netherlands.

Starbucks said it has built more than 260 stores, employing over 3,100 people in the four European markets between 2008 and 2016.

After the deal closes, Alsea would expand its ties with Starbucks outside of Latin America to Europe and would partner with the chain in nine markets globally.

Alsea also operates other international chains, including Domino’s Pizza and Restaurant Brands’ Burger King.