Starbucks is scheduled to unveil its reimagined version of the La Boulange concept in Los Angeles on Thursday, transforming the morning-focused San Francisco bakery-café into an all-day eatery with sandwiches, burgers, beer and wine.
Holly Hart Shafer, a spokeswoman for Seattle-based Starbucks Corp., said the new-and-improved variation of La Boulange is a “natural next step” as the concept moves outside its San Francisco home base for the first time.
Starbucks acquired La Boulange parent Bay Bread LLC for $100 million in 2012, pledging at the time to build the then-19-unit bakery-café chain operating in the San Francisco Bay area into a national brand.
Since then, Starbucks has also rolled out La Boulange-branded bakery products on its menu, a move that has significantly boosted the chain’s sales as consumers add more food onto their beverage orders.
After reporting a 6-percent increase in same-store sales for the Americas region during the March 30-ended second quarter, Starbucks officials attributed about 2 percent of that same-store sales growth to the new food offerings, including the La Boulange bakery items, which were available in about 8,500 company-operated and licensed locations at that point.
In San Francisco, La Boulange is known for breakfast, brunch and lunch, featuring authentic French-style pastries, freshly baked breads, salads and rotating seasonal dishes. The new version in Los Angeles will be the first to offer dinner, said Hart Shafer — though it remains to be seen whether the three-daypart unit will serve as a model for future growth.
“Los Angeles has a vibrant food scene and we believe that the new La Boulange all-day concept will do well in this market,” she said. “We have no additional locations to announce at this time.”
However, she added, as part of a continued commitment to build the brand, Starbucks plans to “experiment with La Boulange through various brand extensions and dayparts.”
With the introduction of La Boulange-branded products in Starbucks outlets, the company has paved the way for the concept’s future growth and brand awareness across the country.
Hart Shafer declined to disclose specifics about the menu, but described it as “affordable, approachable and delicious,” with brunch items, salads, sandwiches and burgers ranging in price from $5.95 to $10.95.
The Los Angeles Times reported earlier this year that sandwiches on the Los Angeles La Boulange menu will include a B.E.L.T., or BLT with fried egg and aioli on ciabatta; a steak sandwich with tomatoes, arugula, Swiss cheese and grilled onions with tarragon aioli; and the classic croque monsieur with ham, Swiss, béchamel on toasted pain de mie.
La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo has also developed a special croissant bun as an option for burgers, the LA Times said, and the menu will include soju-based cocktails with a selection of beer and wine on tap. Milkshakes will also be on offer, along with Starbucks coffee, including a special house blend exclusive to La Boulange.
Starbucks operates or licenses a total of 20,519 locations worldwide across all brands. In addition to the namesake brand and La Boulange, Starbucks is parent to the Teavana, Tazo Tea, Evolution Fresh and Seattle’s Best Coffee brands.
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