Starbucks’ pumpkin spice latte made its annual debut this morning to the usual fanfare. And while most customers are guzzling their PSLs alongside a muffin or a slice of banana bread, some can now enjoy it with something a little heartier: The coffee chain has quietly begun testing a new line of brunch items, including quiche (made with cage-free eggs, natch), Belgian waffles, and baked French toast, as blogger Starbucks Melody first reported.
A Starbucks representative confirms that the brunch items rolled out August 27 at 78 Starbucks stores across Portland and Seattle. Brunch items are available on weekends only, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until sold out.
Starbucks would not share information on the future availability of those products, or whether the company will expand the test to additional stores or markets.
Starbucks first began amping up its food offerings in 2007, when it introduced breakfast sandwiches. The sandwiches required a hefty investment into high-speed, high-heat ovens, but it’s one that’s paid off: According to Bloomberg, food sales have been a bright spot for the coffee company in recent years, with breakfast sandwich sales increasing 40 percent from 2015 to 2016.
Though its breakfast offerings have evolved, they’re mostly still heat-and-eat type meals: ideal for consuming on-the-go, or at a work desk. The brunch items, on the other hand, aren’t exactly portable eats — a Belgian waffle would be pretty difficult to cut into during the morning commute — but they do seemingly fit into the company’s aesthetic, which has long-revolved around the notion of a “third place.”
That aesthetic has been called into question recently, with some baristas claiming that recent labor cuts have led to declining customer service and a loss of the "third place experience.”
If Starbucks really wants to entice customers to linger in its stores, might we suggest another brunch classic: endless mimosas?
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