July 20, 2011

More than Just Java: Starbucks Follow-Up

From new sizes to a new logo, the Starbucks brand has seen many changes in the last year. Following the introduction of wine and beer to its menu options, Starbucks has also extended its food offerings.

Starbucks is introducing a line of “ bistro boxes,” in snack and entree sizes, priced from $4.95 to $6.95 and all under 500 calories. The initial entrees are chipotle chicken wraps, sesame noodles, chicken lettuce wraps and salumi and cheese. The new menu items reflect a ramped-up emphasis on food at Starbucks, which has generally focused on breakfast sandwiches and pastries.

From booze to bistro boxes, Starbucks has moved far beyond the classic cup of joe. The Starbucks brand started with a focus on coffee. Baristas were trained in coffee knowledge and served high quality coffee due the strict control over the quality and processing of the beans. Aroma, atmosphere, flavor and store design stimulated all five senses and contributed to an overall “Starbucks Experience.”

Though food items are nothing new, previously served pastries acted as complements to the coffee. As the menu at Starbucks keeps growing, edible items are standing out on their own. I don’t want to wash down my chipotle chicken with a vanilla latte. Add other innovations such as books and music to the mix and it’s no surprise  Starbucks dropped the word “coffee” from its name and logo.

New ideas and expanded menus don’t appear to be a problem for Starbucks loyalists. With corporate restructuring plans in place and new stores opening in India and Vietnam, expansion of the Starbucks brand doesn’t seem to be slowing any time soon.

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