Starbucks Corp. is looking to expand its food business, with a $100 million cash deal to buy a small bakery chain.
The Seattle-based coffee shop chain says baked goods and pastries from La Boulange will start replacing its current lineup early next year. Starbucks also says it plans to make the San Francisco-area bakery into a national presence in the years ahead.
Food has become an important part of Starbucks’ revenue stream in recent years. About a third of the purchases in its U.S. locations now include a food item.
La Boulange, which also serves salads and sandwiches in a casual sit-down setting, has 19 locations in the Bay Area. The deal also positions Starbucks to enter a fast-growing segment of the restaurant industry currently dominated by Panera Bread Co.
Update 1:45 p.m.
The deal for San Fran’s French bakery La Boulange is Starbucks largest ever acquisition. on.wsj.com/M5QzbS
— Dave Benoit (@DaveCBenoit) June 4, 2012
Update 2:20 p.m. More from Inside Scoop SF:
Within 12 to 14 months, there will be La Boulange-branded goods in every Starbucks’ pastry case in America, [company founder Pascal] Rigo says.
Then there’s the La Boulange brand itself, which will expand to 200 to 400 units nationwide within the next four to five years.
“We are going to expand the brand and retail concept to the major cities,” says Rigo….
But don’t expect sweeping changes at your local La Boulange. While we’re awaiting official word on any potential coffee program changes, Rigo says he’s staying the course. Employees will be able to get better training and better benefits.
“At our 19 locations, we get 10, 000 to 14,000 customers a day. We’d be stupid to change anything. Full post
Update 2:05 p.m. The Bay Area responds to the news, apparently with a collective “Mon dieu, non!” There seems to be a contest going on as to who can put the most “o”s at the end of their “Noooo!”
Man, first the financial crisis, now this…