STARBUCKS’ GRANDE PLANS

After decades dominating the coffee scene, Starbucks is making a move into Italian food. The Seattle-based coffeehouse chain is partnering with Princi, best known for its bakery chains in Milan and London, in order to offer customers a range of Italian food items, such as margherita pizzas, tiramisu and focaccia sandwiches. The partnership was rolled out earlier this week at  its upscale Reserve Roastery in Seattle, with a view to expanding it to all of their Reserve locations and then to opening standalone Princi eateries.

“We’re getting into the food business,” said Howard Schultz, chairman of Starbucks. “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.”

Previous pre-packaged food efforts have failed, largely in part due to customer perceptions of a lack of freshness because Starbucks’ don’t have kitchens. The new Princi locations will have full kitchens with qualified cooking staff.