Starbucks brings back sliced cakes

by Eric Schroeder
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SEATTLE — Starbucks Corp., which steadily has been introducing items under the La Boulange brand since acquiring it in 2012, is retooling its menu in about 30% of its restaurants to meet demand for products that had been pulled. 

A spokesperson for Starbucks told Milling & Baking News that the company will once again begin selling sliced loaf versions of its lemon cake, pumpkin cake and banana nut cake. The spokesperson said the products will return with the exact same recipes, using La Boulange ingredients.

The sliced loaf products disappeared from some of the coffee chain’s menus as Starbuck’s rolled out the La Boulange brand, but the spokesperson noted that the products have remained available at the majority of Starbucks’ locations. The only locations affected have been those where La Boulange products have been introduced, she noted.

Last month, Scott Maw, chief financial officer of Starbucks, told analysts at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch Consumer and Retail Conference that La Boulange has been “an enormously complex roll-out.”

“We’re about 50% rolled out with the bakery program within La Boulange,” Mr. Maw said. “And the bakery program is about half of the food in Starbucks. So we’ve impacted about 25% of the overall food platform in La Boulange. And that’s why we continue to say it’s ‘early days.’

“But what we see in the results of La Boulange — the customer reaction, the pride that our partners have in an elevated food experience — has well met all the expectations — rather lofty expectations — we had at launch. And we’re doing some things to adjust and improve the food program. We’ve had some things that have gone far better than we thought, where we see things like croissants that have doubled sales from pre-La Boulange levels. And we’re adjusting some things in the operations as well to get at some of the expected little hiccups we’ve had in the roll-out.”
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