Starbucks is shuttering all of its La Boulange bakeries. Though it may sound like the company is pulling back from offering food in its store, it isn’t the case.
Not just a few, Starbucks is completely closing down all 23 locations of the La Boulange bakery-café and their manufacturing facilities. One can’t help but think the process appears like a large corporate house procuring and shuttering operations of the little guy to grow in the process. How else to explain the fact that Starbucks is only closing La Boulange storefronts and independent bakeries, but will continue to offer La Boulange-brand food at Starbucks retail stores?
Starbucks acquired La Boulange exactly three years ago to augment its non-coffee offerings, and the brand has added tremendous value to the corporate giant. With La Boulange products at Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada, sales of breakfast sandwiches have reliably increased at 35 percent each year, boosting the bottom-line of Starbucks in the process. But the coffee giant issued a statement that belied the positive impact La Boulange had on its revenue.
“Starbucks has determined La Boulange stores are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth. The La Boulange brand will continue to play a significant role in the future of Starbucks food in stores.”
It is important to note that, while Starbucks will continue to sell La Boulange-brand food, it will dissolve the image of the bakery from the public’s eye by shuttering its storefronts. When asked about their strategy behind closing La Boulange bakeries, a spokesperson said:
“Starbucks has always had a strong leadership and core team in place to champion the innovation behind Starbucks diverse portfolio of food, of which Pascal was a part of. We’ll continue to deepen our commitment to our customers’ food experience in-store, ensuring we surpass their expectations for food, just as we’re committed to doing with our coffee. This includes bringing in new and seasonal food items throughout the year as we always do, ensuring we’re meeting the needs of our customers.”
What this simply means is that Starbucks is keenly interested in furthering its in-store food offerings, but it won’t be happy if the same food is available in an exclusive store. With just 23 storefronts, La Boulange bakeries surely qualified as exclusive joints. However, from a corporate perspective, they weren’t a viable and sustainable business practice in the long-run. On the bright side, Starbucks fans can be assured that the coffee-chain wants more patrons who are equally as interested in food as they are in the rather premium-priced coffee.
[Image Credit | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]