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Starbucks / Starbucks

The classic croissant is the best-selling pastry item at Starbucks.

Starbucks is changing its pastry menu and expanding lunch

Published: Thursday, Jan. 16, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Starbucks stores in the Sacramento area will soon stock a new line of baked goods as the coffee-centric chain continues to roll out its line of baked goods under the La Boulange brand. Starbucks acquired the San Francisco bakery in June 2012. Also, the company intends to roll out a menu of hot and cold sandwiches from La Boulange, to go on sale nationwide as early as this fall.

“Of the 600-plus stores I (oversee), 230 of them (including those in the Greater Sacramento area) will have the new (line of baked goods) by Jan. 28,” said Sarah Meadows, Starbucks’ food business partner for Northern California. “The other 400 throughout Northern California have had the new (line) for a year. By September, we should have 7,000 stores nationwide with these products.”

The baked goods include classic and almond croissants, muffins, scones, pastries, loaf cakes and cookies.

“I tasted all of them, and I also tasted (all the items on) our new lunch platform, which is still in the testing phase,” Meadows said. “We’re (testing) a beef brisket with cheddar and smoked onions sandwich that’s to die for. (Also) a grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread and at least six others.”

Part of the testing includes customizable sauces, such as tomato-pesto, chimichurri and barbecue.

Sounds like Starbucks is becoming a restaurant chain. “We’re always looking to find what customers want, and they have asked us for more lunch options — options that change and are new, and not the same old thing,” Meadows said. “We are keeping up with the times.”

“The key is to make Starbucks a regular lunch destination,” said Holly Shafer, a Starbucks spokeswoman. “We want Starbucks to be on our customers’ lunch rotation lists.”

Walk into any Starbucks store and it’s soon obvious the hard-working staffers already spend a lot of time heating bagels, breakfast sandwiches and panini in microwave ovens. Won’t the additional duty of preparing more sandwiches slow the flow?

“From a speed-of-service perspective, we’re constantly looking at increasing equipment and labor, if needed, to support the customer and the partner experiences,” Meadows said. “Many stores have doubled their oven count and/or are scheduling their labor differently to assure that people are in the right places.”

Call The Bee’s Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128. Follow him on Twitter @apierleonisacbe.

Read more articles by Allen Pierleoni

About Appetizers

Chris Macias has served as The Sacramento Bee's Food & Wine writer since 2008. His writing adventures have ranged from the kitchen at French Laundry to helping pick 10 tons of zinfandel grapes with migrant farm workers in Lodi. Chris also judges regularly at food, wine and cocktail competitions around Northern California. His profile of a former gangbanger-turned-pastry-chef was included in Da Capo's "Best Food Writing 2012."

Read his Wine Buzz columns here
(916) 321-1253
Twitter: @chris_macias

Allen Pierleoni writes about casual lunchtime restaurants in The Sacramento Bee's weekly "Counter Culture" column. He covers a broad range of topics, including food, travel, books and authors. In addition to writing the weekly column "Between the Lines," he oversees the Sacramento Bee Book Club, in which well-known authors give free presentations to the public.

Read his Counter Culture reviews here
(916) 321-1128
Twitter: @apierleonisacbe

Blair Anthony Robertson is The Sacramento Bee's food critic.

Read his restaurant reviews here
(916) 321-1099
Twitter: @Blarob

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