Starbucks is going grande into the Italian-food business

Not a big leap from cappuccino.
Not a big leap from cappuccino.
Image: AP Photo/Elise Amendola
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Starbucks, best known for grande coffees and secret-menu lattes, is treading into new territory: Italian food, made to order.

The Seattle,Washington-based superchain will be serving up pizza, tiramisu, and focaccia sandwiches by joining forces with Princi, a bakery with a handful of locations in London and Milan. There is now  a Princi outlet inside Starbucks’ upscale Seattle Reserve Roastery, and the company plans to open more in Reserve Roastery locations in Shanghai, Milan, New York, Tokyo, and Chicago.

“More than 100 menu items…will be available daily, using ingredients imported from Italy,”the company said in a statement.

Starbucks around the US already sell pre-made sandwiches and desserts; Princi will be gunning for consumers who want to see their food made to order, and will do just that in full-sized kitchens. Eventually, the chain anticipates opening Princi locations as standalone operations, apart from the Reserve Roasteries.

In July 2016, Starbucks became a global licensee and investor in Princi, founded in 1986 by Rocco Princi.

“I can think of no better pairing for our most premium coffee experience and am excited by the possibilities we envision in Princi food elevating every day part—breakfast, lunch, and dinner—in Starbucks Roasteries and Reserve Stores,” said then-CEO Howard Schultz in a statement.

Given Starbucks’ already impressive global reach—there are more than 25,000 of them—finding a way to transcend coffee is all that stands between it and becoming a well-rounded competitor in the fast-casual restaurant world. Watch out, Fazoli’s.