As you might’ve heard by now, Starbucks’ sizing system draws its inspiration from Italy. Now it seems like that’s going to be true with their approach to food as well. Thanks to a new alliance between the world’s largest coffee conglomerate and Italian bakery chain Princi, certain Starbucks Roastery and Reserve locations will soon offer fresh-baked goods like wood-fired pizza and unique Italian bakery that put their current slate of paltry pastries to shame.
Starbucks’ latest foray into the food industry is set to start small and will ramp up over time. Princi recently started serving up its delectable bakery creations at Seattle’s Starbucks Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, an upscale cafe focused on brewing up small batch coffee creations. There, specially-trained Princi staff called “comessas” walk patrons through an ad-hoc menu that will evolve from day to day and even hour to hour: one can enjoy items like a cornetti at breakfast, a lunchtime focaccia sandwiches or desserts like crostata and tiramisu that come fresh out of the oven after 2 PM.
If all goes well, other Starbucks Reserve locations slated to open in places like New York, Chicago, and Shanghai will get their own on-site Princi bakeries as well. From there, standalone Princi locations will start to roll out over the next year— all of which will serve Starbucks coffee, of course.
The move comes at a time when consumers have grown wary of Starbucks’ past attempts at serving prepared food, including sushi burritos and a failed investment in La Boulange locations earlier this decade. As Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sees it, though, the emphasis on fresh-baked goods prepared onsite will make the Princi partnership a game-changer.
“We have never baked in our stores in 45 years. But all of that will change with the creation of this unique partnership,“ Schultz in a statement. “Princi will be fully integrated with bakery operations, so not only will we be roasting coffee, but we’ll be baking bread, pastries — the kind of Italian pastries you’ve never seen in America.”
Just as Princi is set to come stateside, Starbucks is also slated to launch a Reserve Roastery in Milan next year, its first outpost aimed at Italian coffee snobs. For the sake of Starbucks’ reputation among the world’s foremost espresso drinkers, here’s to hoping the partnership between the frappucino makers and the focaccia bakers is a mutually beneficial one.