Preheat the Ovens: Starbucks’s La Boulange Bakery Is Coming to LA
Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is getting ready to preheat its ovens in Los Angeles. Fierce Retail reported Thursday that the world’s largest coffee chain is planning on opening its first full-service La Boulange bakery in Southern California, after only previously operating it in San Francisco. Starbucks has twenty-two La Boulange locations in San Francisco, but has been slow about expanding its operations elsewhere. That is until now, at least. Company executives have yet to make any formal announcements about a new LA location, but both Reuters and Fierce Retail have reported on the La Boulange expansion after onlookers noted that Starbucks has filed business permits for the La Boulange locations, and has also been advertising for job openings.
As highlighted by Fierce Retail, Starbucks purchased La Boulange Bakery in 2012 for $100 million and has since been selling La Boulange pastries and other food in about 3,500 Starbucks outlets in the United States. However, that doesn’t mean all Starbucks customers are happy about the new pastries. After growing to love the chain’s iconic oversized muffins, loaf cakes, and breads, many consumers have started complaining about the size and price of the La Boulange baked goods, complaining that they are too small and overpriced. Responding to those complaints, Starbucks brought back some old favorites this winter, but it’s still up in the air as to how well LA customers will welcome the new La Boulange bakeries, especially since there is no dearth of specialty baked goods in the region.
But Starbucks will still bring its La Boulange bakery to LA sooner rather than later, and the expansion reflects the Seattle-based company’s desire to flex its muscles outside of the coffee sphere. Starbucks has secured many new food and drink partnerships this year that have made it a competitor in the grocery, tea, and food industries, and its link to La Boulange is just one more way it can further its monopoly over the coffee drink and food fields.