Enjoying a cereal bowl-sized latte at San Francisco chain, La Boulange, will soon be a thing of the past. Despite the recent purchase of the chain for $100 million in 2012, Starbucks released an announcement Tuesday evening outlining a plan to shutter all of its 23 Bay Area locations (15 of which are located in San Francisco) by September.
According to the statement released by the coffee behemoth: "Based on our ongoing evaluations, Starbucks has determined La Boulange stores are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth." This comes despite a reported 35 percent growth in the breakfast platform and a 16 percent growth in food sales for the chain overall.
La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo, who signed on with the coffee company as a Senior Vice President to guide the rollout of La Boulange's products, will leave the company "to continue his passion for food in San Francisco," according to the statement. As for current employees of the soon-to-shutter bakeries, Starbucks plans to assist in job relocation within its many green-tinged coffee shops throughout the area. From their statement:
"All partners (employees) who work in these locations are being treated with the utmost care - receiving personalized transition materials and having in-person conversations with their managers to explain this decision. Where possible, Starbucks will help partners find new positions at Starbucks stores in the area. In addition, retail partners from La Boulange and Evolution Fresh will be offered incentives to continue employment with the company through their store closure."
Following its acquisition in 2012, the coffee mega-chain immediately incorporated La Boulange's menu of pastries and other baked goods into their to-go offerings at Starbucks across the country. Unfortunately, many customers gave a lukewarm reception to the mass-produced goods, which they said did not match up to La Boulange's quality, leading to a decrease in production of the new line in April. In a move to satisfy Starbucks' legions of loyal customers and fans of stale cake pops, the company also reinstated some old favorites, including slices of iced lemon and banana pound cakes.
Starbucks says it will retain its goal of growing its food business and delivering $2 billion in the next five years. In the meantime, there'll be quite a few vacant storefronts in San Francisco come September.