Houston area Starbucks chains have begun selling meals produced by Snap Kitchen, a food chain focused on heat-and-eat meals for the health-conscious. The coffee chain has since stated that it plans to expand this partnership into other franchises through the country.
While company CEO Kevin Johnson admired at Starbucks’ ability to “elevate its food offerings,” such praise seem questionable given the company’s other endeavors. It was only in May that Chicago area Starbucks began offering a “Mercato” brand lunch menu that the company had planned to add to all American Starbucks stores. It remains unknown whether Snap Kitchen’s menu will be offered separately from the Mercato menu or if both will be offered.
While investing in Snap Kitchen or introducing the Mercato line are not the first instances of Starbucks’ interests in adding savory food items to its menu, they could be the first instances where such endeavors produce a profit. As current earnings reports indicate, only a fifth of all sales come from food. It seems as if Starbucks has been doomed to fail when offering anything beyond a “bistro box” or a cold sandwich. A good deal of these problems may simply come down to real estate within its franchises; the lack of full kitchens means that franchises must resort to salads and reheating frozen products via microwave. While these issues could easily be overcome by installing full kitchens and hiring a cooking staff, such pursuits become questionable for a company known for its profitable coffee.
Here is a brief run-down of Starbucks’ failed attempts at food:
- 2010 introduced “Starbucks Evenings,” allowing patrons to order alcoholic beverages with tapas. 2016 saw these Evenings discontinued.
- 2011 saw the acquisition of “Evolution Fresh;” six years later, Starbucks closed all five Evolution Fresh juice bars.
- 2012 saw Starbucks purchase bakery “La Boulange” to compete with Panera and Pret a Manger. Constant complaints forced the closure of all La Boulanges in 2015.