Starbucks is starting to act like Panera

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Starbucks is starting to act like Panera

By Gina Acosta - 11/07/2017

The next evolution of Starbucks involves making a bolder move into foodservice in the form of an Italian style bakery-cafe called Princi.

The company has opened its first Princi restaurant in Seattle. The restaurant, which serves pizza, sandwiches and more Italian style fare, is located inside the Starbucks Roastery opened in December 2014.

Princi is an Italy-based bakery offering freshly baked Italian food crafted from baker Rocco Princi’s recipes, which has gained a devoted following in his six stores across Milan and in London’s Soho neighborhood.  

Starbucks says it is planning to open 1,000 standalone Princi bakeries around the world, with hundreds in the U.S., serving small-batch Starbucks “reserve” coffee.

“Rocco Princi is an artisan who, at an early age, discovered a love of bread making and through determination as well as an obsession for finding the perfect ingredients, has created an Italian food experience that I think is unparalleled,” said Howard Schultz, executive chairman, Starbucks. “His passion for authentic food and respect for Milanese culture come through in everything he does, and I think our customers are going to fall in love with Princi.” 

At the Princi in Seattle, a team of bakers and chefs bring over 125 years of experience to Princi recipes. Much like Rocco’s European locations, the Seattle store is centered around ovens with food made fresh onsite. More than 100 menu items – from flaky cornetti to focaccia sandwiches filled with salame Milano and mozzarella di bufala or crostata fragola – will be available daily, using ingredients imported from Italy, 25 of which are specifically for Princi. 

In 2016, Starbucks announced that it had joined a global investment team – which includes Milan-based Angel Capital Management and Pekepan Investments – to expand Princi into international markets.