Starbucks announced today that they are acquiring the San Francisco chain of stores, La Boulange® Bakery.  This is definitely a positive development.  Starbucks has long offered a variety of baked goods inside their stores, though the offerings change frequently.  About a decade ago (perhaps a little longer), I can clearly recall seeing the Schwarz Brothers vans in front of Starbucks stores, delivering their fresh-baked goods.  The Schwarz Brothers partnership supplied a lot of the baked goods for many years.   From the Schwarz Brothers era, I definitely remember a cinnamon twist bread that I especially liked.

Here’s the official press release on this bakery acquisition:

Just the other day, I was doing some research on Starbucks, and stumbled upon this 1993 Starbucks recipe for date scones!  Since we are discussing food and baked items, I thought I’d throw in that link here:

Starbucks has always offered some kind of baked goods in their stores for about twenty years.  There has definitely been experimentation too, as seen in this article about freshly-baked cookies at Starbucks.  I recall hearing gossip that about one year ago, Starbucks tested locally-sourced bakery items in Los Angeles.  In partnership with La Brea Bakery, a few Los Angeles stores tested local baked goods.

I am hopeful that the new baked goods will be of a better quality than what is currently offered.  Many of the current baked goods do not look enticing to me.   I suspect that Starbucks will want to add the La Boulange brand baked goods to grocery stores as well, to grow the CPG channel too.

By the way, one of the questions from the investor relations webcast on this was very interesting:

  • Question: (John Ivankoe of JP Morgan)  Is there an opportunity to finishing baking off any of these products in store, in maybe some of your larger outlets?
  • Answer:  (Howard Schultz) Yes. Well, John, when I described earlier the “new methodology,” there is going to be a completely different way that we will be presenting food. And the finishing off  of the product, without getting too specific, is going  to be very apparent to our customers.  It is going to drive a completely different level of food awareness, food attraction and obviously we strongly believe incrementality as a result as a way that we will demonstrate romance and deliver fresh food for our customers, in ways that we have not done in 40 years.

That sounds like there will be more testing and/or growth in the area of in-store baked items.

This is an open thread.  Feel free to talk about anything Starbucks-related.