Starbucks Is Shutting Down the Bakery Chain It Acquired Three Years Ago
As Starbucks focuses on food, the chain is closing up its bakery concept.
On Tuesday, Starbucks announced that it is closing all 23 La Boulange bakery cafes, plus the two manufacturing facilities that serve these locations, by September 2015. La Boulange branded food will remain on the menu at Starbucks locations in the U.S. and Canada.
Starbucks is also closing the Evolution Fresh retail location in San Francisco, while continuing to sell the concept's juice line in Starbucks stores. The three other Evolution Fresh stores will remain open.
Starbucks acquired La Boulange for $100 million in 2012. The small but established San Francisco bakery chain helped revamp the company's food selection, with a line of La Boulange-branded sweet and savory baked goods.
Over the course of the last three years, Starbucks has rolled out La Boulange offerings across the U.S. and Canada. At the same time, the company has launched new breakfast sandwiches and taken steps to more fully engage lunchtime customers. Food sales jumped 16 percent year-over-year in the most recent quarter, according to the company.
As La Boulange's roll out in the U.S. and Canada wraps up, Starbucks says that La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo is leaving the company. The company reports former employees at the shuttered locations have received personalized transition materials, and will, when possible, move to positions at Starbucks stores in the area.
In other Starbucks news, the company also announced on Tuesday that Mobile Order and Pay has expanded from the Pacific Northwest to 21 mores states in the southern and central U.S. The feature, which was first tested as a pilot in Portland last December, allows customers to place orders on their smartphones, skip waiting in line and pick up their order directly from the barista. If the service isn't yet available in your state, never fear – Mobile Order and Pay will roll out at Starbucks nationally over the course of 2015.