French Pastries Overtake Starbucks Stores

By Kristina Skorbach, Epoch Times
September 19, 2013 6:15 am Last Updated: September 19, 2013 7:32 am

NEW YORK—America’s biggest coffee chain, Starbucks Inc., did a complete overhaul of their pastry products by rolling out French-inspired pastries in some 500 NYC stores yesterday. The operation is part of the company’s buyout of the San Francisco-based bakery, La Boulange, which some might have noticed, now covers the light pink coffee cup sleeves and paper bags.

Starbucks bought La Boulange in June 2012, for reportedly $100 million cash. The pastries are all designed by founder Pascal Rigo who “wanted to recreate a real part of the French countryside,” after he came to the United States. Rigo makes the pastries from “simple, fresh ingredients: wheat, grains, eggs, milk and sea salt,” according to the Starbucks website.

Rigo will oversee all of Starbucks food visioning from now on, starting with pastries, according to a Starbucks representative.

“It’s time to start thinking of Starbucks for Great Food,” says their new poster with a photo of a croissant and the delicate La Boulange logo.

Although many value the wholesome list of ingredients in the pastries, the company met some critical reviews on the Internet.

“The Starbucks here in Chicago are now advertising La Boulange stuff. So it won’t just be crappy and frozen, it’ll be crappy, frozen, old, and shipped from 2,000 miles away,” said Violatp.

“La Boulange still makes some great items, but it’s not in the way of the croissants or anything they’re offering at Starbucks,” said Sugartoof on the same website.

The new pastries, all 29 of them, are replacing the previous Starbucks pastries, however, the company has adopted a new policy to serve them warm. The light pink paper bag for the pastries has a message on the reverse side that not all the stores carry ovens, so in that case “you’ll have to just pretend the butter is melting””

“Warming the La Boulange offerings creates a significant difference in texture and taste, enlivening the flavors. The La Boulange offerings were specifically designed to be warmed,” wrote Starbucks in response to a question on its website’s Frequently Asked Questions.

At a Midtown Starbucks location, the store received frozen products at 4 p.m. Staff then let the pastries thaw until they will be ready to be warmed up in the morning. Customers are not asked if they would like the pastry warmed up. It’s just a new standard procedure. A typical pastry takes about 20 seconds to warm up in the oven.

The pastries are all laid out in display cases or in their plastic wrappers on a tray behind the display case. When ordered, the barrista opens the plastic wrapper, places the pastry on a brown sheet of baking paper, pops it into the oven using tongs, takes it out, places it into a light pink paper bag and throws the cooking paper in the garbage.

The lengthy process, although recommended, is not necessary. During the first days, the cashier will allow you to try any pastry on display and if you don’t like it warmed, you can ask for a thawed one.

Starbucks first launched the La Boulange pastries in over 400 stores in San Francisco, then to 348 participating stores in Seattle.

Starbucks plans to have the new pastries in over 7,000 Starbucks stores by the end of 2014, which will cover all the company-operated, participating locations nationwide.