In an additional attempt to break free from an image that it is a coffee store chain that competes with McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD), Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) has set a deal with a bakery to market super high-end food products — in a very few locations and as part of a joint venture.
In its press release, the American coffee company stated:
Starbucks Corporation announced its role as global licensee and investor in the Italian restaurant Princi, the renowned boutique bakery and café founded by Rocco Princi in 1986. Known for its artisan breads created from traditional family recipes, Princi’s five locations have become beloved experiences for customers across Milan and London.
The investment team, which includes Milan-based Angel Lab and Pekepan Investments, will focus on expanding the number of standalone Princi locations worldwide as well as making Princi the exclusive food purveyor at the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Rooms in Shanghai and New York. Announced earlier this year, these immersive coffee experiences bring to life Starbucks line of premium, small-lot Reserve coffees in a retail space that allows the roasting, brewing and craft of coffee to take center stage. The Shanghai and New York Roastery locations are on track to open in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
In addition to the expansion of standalone Princi specialty stores and inclusion of fresh baking in Starbucks Roasteries, the company will also partner with Rocco Princi to bring a premium food experience to its new Reserve only stores starting in 2017.
It is not clear how much of the investment Princi will get to keep.
Despite the Starbucks attempt to burnish its image as something very different from a fast-food company, its products are often compared, even by consumer research firms, to those of McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. Maybe Princi will make a difference.
Over the past year, McDonald’s shares have risen 24% while shares of Starbucks are higher by 2%.