Ever since Starbucks announced their $100 million acquisition of La Boulange last year, folks have been wondering when the local bakery chain's goodies would begin making an appearance in the coffee behemoth's outlets. The answer is next Tuesday at 6 am, and they're going big: La Boulange products will be offered at all 420 Bay Area Starbucks locations in one fell swoop, which is boggling. Inside Scoop interviewed founder Pascal Rigo to see how he'll achieve this logistical feat, and the answer is: freezers. Lots and lots of freezers. Every local Starbucks now has one just for frozen La Boulange products, which will be flash-baked on-site in 7 to 15 seconds. Unsurprisingly, this is the single largest refrigerator roll-out in business history—they couldn't even find enough stainless steel to build the things.
To fill all of those freezers, Rigo has doubled the size of his headquarters and factory in South San Francisco, employing more than 1,200 people to create enough pastries for the 20 Bay Area La Boulange locations, as well as Starbucks. As La Boulange expands, he'll replicate these factories all over the country, supporting local producers in each market and sticking with organic products. Considering Starbucks serves more than 40 million Americans each year, it's a pretty insane undertaking.
In the meantime, you can expect to see croissants, bagels, warm sandwiches and piadini flatbreads, pound cake, and other La Boulange offerings filling the pastry case. A few holdovers, like cake pops and mini-scones, will remain, but nearly everything else will bear the company's pink-and-green mermaid logo. Their rollout schedule is also incredibly ambitious: the Pacific Northwest will get the treats in June, L.A. in July, Chicago in August, and New York and Boston in September. By mid-2014, every U.S. outlet should be Boulange-ified.