Friday, November 17, 2017
Business

Pizza with your coffee? Starbucks soon will be opening Italian restaurants

RECOMMENDED READING


After years of trying to win over lunch and dinner crowds, Starbucks is preparing to open its first stand-alone Italian restaurant.

The company is teaming up with Princi, a small chain of 24-hour bakeries in Milan and London, to offer customers freshly made items including focaccia sandwiches, margherita pizzas and tiramisu. The first stage of the partnership will debut Tuesday, when Starbucks opens a Princi bakery in its upscale Reserve Roastery in Seattle. The company plans to eventually open bakeries inside all of its Reserve locations, and next year hopes to open stand-alone Princi eateries across the country. The openings will be in New York, Seattle and Chicago.

"We’re getting into the food business," Howard Schultz, the chairman of Starbucks, said in an interview. "Princi will be fully integrated with bakery operations, so not only will we be roasting coffee, but we’ll be baking bread, pastries — the kind of Italian pastries you’ve never seen in America."

The move is the latest effort by the 45-year-old coffee purveyor to expand into food. Many of its attempts — prepackaged cake pops, truffle mac and cheese, ‘sushi burritos’ — have fizzled, analysts say, in part because Starbucks stores haven’t had kitchens. If customers are paying $10 for lunch, analysts say they want it to be prepared on the spot.

"There is a perception that Starbucks is selling an inferior product," Nick Setyan, an analyst for Wedbush Securities, told The Washington Post in September. "Customers are saying, ‘How good can that salad or sandwich be if you’re not making it in front of me?’ "

The new Princi locations are to have full kitchens staffed with bakers and "food ambassadors" called commessas. The menu, with about 100 items, includes baked eggs for breakfast, caprese salads for lunch, cocktails and small plates for dinner, and tarts, cookies and crostatas for dessert. Items will be priced between $3 and $11.

In 1980, Italian baker Rocco Princi started the boutique company, which now has five European locations. In July, Starbucks announced that it had invested in Princi and had become the company’s global licensee. (Princi’s U.S. workers will be employed by Starbucks.)

"We have never baked in our stores in 45 years. But all of that will change with the creation of this unique partnership," Schultz said in a statement at the time. "Rocco and his team at Princi possess a passion for handcrafted food and artisanal baked goods that mirrors how I feel about our coffee."

The announcement comes as Starbucks prepares to open its first coffee shops in Italy next year, starting with a Reserve Roastery in Milan.

"Having Princi in the Roastery in Italy will give us instant credibility, among other things," Schultz said.

The Seattle-based chain has tried for years, with mixed success, to get its customers to think beyond beverages. About 20 percent of Starbucks’s revenue — which last year was $21.32 billion — comes from food sales, up 16 percent from five years ago.

But this isn’t the first time Starbucks has pinned its hopes on a stand-alone bakery. In 2012, the company paid $100 million for La Boulange, a San Francisco-based company with 23 stores. Starbucks had high hopes then, too, with plans to open about 400 new locations in five years.

But it didn’t take long for those plans to fall flat. Three years later, Starbucks said it would be closing its La Boulange bakeries because they were "not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth."

Comments
Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

Florida jobs recover from Irma, unemployment rate drops

As economists predicted, the tough hit that Florida jobs took from Hurricane Irma was not long-lived. The state added 125,300 jobs in October, almost breaking even from the 127,400 jobs it lost in September. According to state figures released Friday...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Apple will postpone release of  HomePod

Apple will postpone release of HomePod

The Washington PostApple said Friday that it’s pushing back its plans for a Siri-powered smart speaker until sometime early next year.The HomePod speaker was announced in June, with an initial launch date set for December. Apple said that its smart s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

HSN, Good Housekeeping pick five contest finalists

ST. PETERSBURG — Good Housekeeping and St. Petersburg-based HSN have chosen five finalists for their entrepreneur competition. The partners are searching for a novel item to promote as endorsed by the Good Housekeeping Seal, denoting reliability and ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? Disconnected we falter but there’s a plan to fix that

How are we doing?That was the Big Question posed more than once this past week in Tampa Bay. First, the Tampa Bay Partnership and USF debuted in-depth and new ways to measure Tampa Bay across a wide range of indicators to gauge whether we are gaining...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

Tesla’s latest creation: An electric big rig that can travel 500 miles on a single charge

The main course was expected: a pair of sleek silver Tesla semi-trucks that get 500 miles per charge, go from zero to 60 mph in five seconds and — if the hype is to be believed — promise to single-handedly transform the commercial trucking industry.B...
Updated: 9 hours ago
We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

We ask Tampa Bay startup leaders how best to advance entrepreneurial ecosystem

What one thing could be added to the Tampa Bay startup community to help it grow and prosper?The Tampa Bay Times reached out to these leading area entrepreneurs and startup experts for answers.RELATED COVERAGE: Trigaux: State of Tampa Bay startups? D...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Before you hit the mall: here are some key holiday shopping hours

Plotting a shopping strategy for the holiday weekend? Here’s a look at holiday store opening hours for some major retailers:Thanksgiving8 a.m.: Kmart1 p.m.: JCPenney4 p.m.: GameStop5 p.m.: Best Buy, Macy’s, Toys "R" Us, Kohl’s6 p.m.: Old Navy, Target...
Published: 11/17/17
Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

Electric, autonomous vehicles featured at Tampa auto show

TAMPA — The two biggest trends in the automotive space are ones you’ve likely heard of: electric vehicles and autonomous cars. Both will feature prominently at the Tampa Bay International Auto Show today through Sunday. The event at the ...
Published: 11/17/17
Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

Developer changes approach as downtown Largo project lags in financing

LARGO — Driving down West Bay Drive, you may notice some changes to downtown Largo.A new 29-unit apartment complex on Ridge Road stands finished and ready for residents. South of the complex, land that was formerly home to a community of rundown cott...
Published: 11/17/17
Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Want to travel solo? Local enthusiasts share stories, tips for holidays trips

Stephanie Maisonneuve visited the walled city of Cartagena, a port city off the Caribbean coast of Colombia. She rode horseback down the city’s cobbled streets clucking past flower-filled balconies and massive, wooden arched doors. The travel enthusi...
Updated: 6 hours ago