Despite many menu comings and goings, Starbucks has managed to grow its food options 1.5 times since 2013 and plans to double its food business by the year 2021, reports USA Today. The brand sees lunch as the next frontier, with more than 50 percent of Starbucks customers coming in after 11 a.m. Could Mercato, the chain’s new lunch menu, crack the food code?
The new program, launched at 100 locations in the competitive Chicago market, features on-trend sandwiches and salads, meant to be mixed and matched or eaten as full-sized entrees. According to the Chicago Tribune, offerings are “aimed at customers who increasingly demand vegetarian-friendly and protein-filled options for a midday meal. If the line is successful, it will be expanded nationwide.”
In Chicago, Mercato food is prepared at a local kitchen and delivered each morning to the individual shops. Starbucks has relied heavily on frozen and pre-packaged foods, so the fresher commissary approach may help build traffic. Distinctive lunch offerings, such as an Almond Butter, Strawberries & Jam sandwich and a Seared Steak & Mango Salad, should earn a try or two, along with ingredients like za’atar, ancient grains, burrata, and fig spread.
- Soup-salad-sandwich combos as lunch enticements
- Upgraded drink options to compete with the coffeehouse market
- On-trend condiment and dressing flavors and ingredients