Starbucks and Princi

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

8 November 2017

Princi, watch out! Starbucks may just end you.

Starbucks is joining forces with the Italian bakery, Princi. Princi currently operates bakeries in Milan and SoHo in London. The new Starbucks Princi mashups are coming to the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery locations near you, starting in December. Starbucks also plans additional freestanding Princi locations in the US beginning next year.

Fresh baked goods and coffee. Sounds pretty good to me. But how does it sound to the rest of the US population?

“However, many believe Starbucks bought La Boulange for the sole purpose of improving the food offerings at Starbucks. And by improving the food offerings, I mean stealing the recipes and giving them to the local and regional bakeries Starbucks uses to bake its goods.”

PrinciStarbucks’ own history suggests this is actually a good fit. In 2012, Starbucks bought an upscale San Francisco bakery chain called La Boulange for $100 million. At the time, it promised to expand the bakery’s then 23-store footprint nationally. But three years after Starbucks bought the chain, it closed them all down, never making good on its stated expansion plans. In a statement, Starbucks says it “determined La Boulange stores are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth.”

Princi may receive the same fate as La Boulange

However, many believe Starbucks bought La Boulange for the sole purpose of improving the food offerings at Starbucks. And by improving the food offerings, I mean stealing the recipes and giving them to the local and regional bakeries Starbucks uses to bake its goods.

But what are the consequences for a chain as large and profitable as Starbucks for spending a few million dollars and leaving the rubble of a destroyed brand behind?

People patronize Starbucks for coffee in all of the glorious forms the baristas concoct it in. While they buy lemon bars and muffins too, that’s not why they go. If I were Princi, I’d be shaking with nervousness. Given Starbucks’ history, I would wonder about the ulterior motives in partnering with a relatively small European bakery brand.

After all, what consequence is it to Starbucks if a little known Italian bakery fails in the US?

See more posts in the following related categories: Princi Starbucks

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