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Starbucks experimenting with burger business


NEW YORK >> Starbucks is dipping its toe into the burger business, with plans to open an outpost of its La Boulange chain that caters to the dinner crowd.

A spokeswoman for Starbucks, Linda Mills, said the Los Angeles restaurant is scheduled to open June 12 and will be open until 10 p.m. It will also serve beer, wine, cocktails and milkshakes.

Starbucks Corp. had purchased the La Boulange chain of bakery-cafes in 2012. The cafes are based in San Francisco Bay Area and primarily focus on breakfast and lunch with soups, salads and sandwiches, along with baked goods. Those cafes typically close before 7 p.m.

The location in Los Angeles will be the first outside of the San Francisco area and will have more of a “modern farmhouse” feel to it, Mills said. Many of the bakery items will be the same, but the menu will be significantly expanded to include build-your-own-burgers and other dishes designed for dinner.

It’s just Starbucks’ latest experiment with formats beyond its namesake cafes. After acquiring a chain of packaged tea stores called Teavana, for instance, the company last year opened an outpost in New York City modeled more after a pricey cafe that serves small bites and prepared tea drinks.

As for the company’s future plans with La Boulange, Mills said, “We’re going to see how this one goes.”

Starbucks, based in Seattle, has more than 20,000 locations around the world.

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