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CNBC writes about how Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said “that the company’s rivals are focusing on short-term gains, while Starbucks is pursuing a more sustainable plan for growth.”

The example cited by Johnson: “Luckin Coffee, the Seattle-based company’s primary challenger in China, is competing for customers by focusing on convenient pick-up and discounted drinks. The company recently filed for an initial public offering on the Nasdaq. In its filing to go public, Luckin said that it expects to continue to invest heavily in discounts and deals.”

Luckin’s strategy in China seems to be to open more stores there, deliver faster, and be cheaper.

But Johnson says that Starbucks is “not only driving the transaction growth and engaging new customers, but we are also generating the return on invested capital that we believe is sustainable to continue to build new stores at this rate for many, many years to come.”

It sounds like Luckin is in a race to generate enough sales and profits from enough units before the economic house of cards falls apart. Not the first company to do so, and won’t be the last. But it sounds like a race.
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