Monday, July 28, 2014         

 Print   Email   Comment | View 4 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

Starbucks bringing back cake slices

By Candice Choi

AP Food Industry Writer

LAST UPDATED: 09:38 a.m. HST, Apr 01, 2014

NEW YORK >> Starbucks is learning that people really like their sliced cake loaves.

The Seattle-based coffee company says it will start bringing back its cake slices in response to customer feedback. The company had been getting rid of the slices that came in banana, iced lemon and pumpkin flavors as part of a staggered rollout of its pricier new baked goods. In their place, Starbucks offered what looked like miniature loaves that cost $2.45, an increase of 20 cents.

Lisa Passe, a Starbucks spokeswoman, said the company realized that "people really like the familiar, sliced cake." She noted that the cake slices will still be made with new recipes and carry the higher prices. Without providing details, she said the slices will return "in coming weeks."

The new baked goods, which are warmed up in the Starbucks ovens, have so far been rolled out to roughly half of the company's 11,500 U.S. locations. That means about half of stores never got rid of the cake slices.

Starbucks Corp., which has long been criticized for its underwhelming baked goods, has been trying to boost sales by convincing more people to get a bite to eat with their drinks. In 2012, the company bought a small bakery chain called La Boulange that it said would start producing its baked goods with better ingredients.

Among the new items that have been hitting some stores are savory croissant squares and the sweet loaves that look like rectangular cakes, instead of the slices previously offered. One reason the new shape of the cake loaves isn't going over well may that they don't look as big.

"The look a lot smaller, and they're priced higher," said Zee Lemke, a barista at a Starbucks cafe in Madison, Wis., who said the new baked goods are doing "terribly" relative to the previous baked goods.

Lemke noted that the biggest sellers tend to be breakfast sandwiches or other foods that make people feel full, rather than the smaller "status consumption foods" Starbucks seems to be pushing. She said some of the new offerings, like the croissant squares, came across as "too fancy."

Another item that customers seem to miss is the reduced fat cinnamon swirl coffee cake, Lemke said, noting that the company didn't introduce a replacement for the offering in the revamp.

"When we launched (the new baked goods), they held a big meeting and told us how awesome it was going to be. We ended up having to throw away tons of it," she said.

Starbucks maintains that the new baked goods are being well-received overall. In January, Chief Operating Officer Troy Alstead said that croissant sales had doubled in stores where the new recipes were introduced. But it's not clear if the spike was the result of people giving new items a try.

But Alstead also conceded that the rollout is "complex," particularly since the new baked goods have to be warmed up. The danger is that the extra step could slow down operations, which in turn could drive away impatient customers, particularly during the busy mornings.

 Print   Email   Comment | View 4 Comments   Most Popular   Save   Post   Retweet

You must be subscribed to participate in discussions
By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may receive a warning, and if you persist with such comments you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email commentfeedback@staradvertiser.com.
Leave a comment

Please login to leave a comment.
kulanakai wrote:
The current cinnamon rolls are the best!
on April 1,2014 | 09:48AM
KaneoheSJ wrote:
As a friend of mine mentioned, McDonald's did something similar. They got rid of the Third Pounders because, as they said, the consumers found it too costly. So what did they do? The came up with Specialty Quarter Pounders that were smaller but cost the same or more. Go figure that one out.
on April 1,2014 | 11:36AM
GooglyMoogly wrote:
It's all in the name. QPs are familiar, so people are probably more willing to try out variations of it, even if they are paying more for less. A Specialty Quarter Pounder is still a Quarter Pounder. Third-Pounder, however, is an entirely new product for customers to get familiar with...even if you and I know it's the same burger, only bigger.
on April 1,2014 | 01:35PM
kailua000 wrote:
Now that is a story that deserves a headline. Really? a slice of cake for $2.95 that a huge freeking deal! wow!
on April 1,2014 | 01:09PM
Breaking News