Starbucks

Top 3 Trends from Biggest Q3 Calls

Quick-serve companies wrapped up their quarter earnings calls and investor meetings earlier this month, paving the way for the final fiscal term of 2011 (or, in Starbucks’ case, the beginning of fiscal 2012).

Here are a few things to learn about the industry from the results.

1. Premium menu items are the name of the game. Though customers have clamored for value-driven items throughout the recession, quick-serve companies are turning to higher-quality fare to appeal to frugal-fatigued consumers.

Starbucks Expands Juice Menu

As part of its commitment to evolve and enhance the customer experience with innovative and wholesome products, Starbucks Coffee Company announced the acquisition of Evolution Fresh, Inc.

Starbucks has seen success with expanded healthier menu items to deliver the nutritious, on-the-go options consumers are seeking. With this acquisition, Starbucks will reinvent the $1.6 billion super-premium juice segment, its significant next step in entering the larger $50 billion health and wellness sector.

Should CEOs Weigh in on Politics?

On August 15, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz sent a letter to customers complaining of the political gridlock in Washington. The letter called for positive change in the U.S., but also called into question the level of involvement quick-serve executives should have in politics.

For Schultz, the actions of politicians demanded that someone, no matter if he was the head of a global coffee corporation, take action. As he stated in his letter, elected officials “have chosen to put partisan and ideological purity over the well-being of the people.”

Starbucks Adds House, Breakfast Blends to VIA Line

Marking the two-year anniversary of the Starbucks VIA product line, the company announced the availability of Starbucks VIA Ready Brew in House Blend and Breakfast Blend at select grocery stores across the U.S. The introduction of the new instant coffee varieties further reinforces Starbucks global coffee leadership and its commitment to offering customers high-quality coffee wherever they go.

McD’s Loses Popularity to Subway

The results of Zagat’s annual fast food survey are in, including Best Burger, Best Coffee.

With the 63rd annual Emmys slated for Sunday, it seems appropriate that the quick-serve industry also celebrate its top awards—from Zagat.  

This year’s results of the National Fast Food Restaurant Survey showed that several quick-serve categories are becoming increasingly competitive and that nutrition is more on the minds of consumers.

Over the Hill: 40 Years of SBUX

It’s a rainy Monday morning in downtown Park Ridge, Illinois, a Rockwellesque suburb on Chicago’s northwestern edge. The overcast sky feels Seattle-like, a fitting day to observe the ebbs and flows of traffic at Starbucks.

At one stand-alone Starbucks location, once home to a community bank, interior tables fill with soccer moms, retirees, and laptop-wielding students. All morning, the line extends about six people deep.

The State of Snacks

It’s 3 p.m., and there are still two hours left in the workday.

As the afternoon drags, a snack would be a great pick-me-up. There’s a vending machine in the break room and a convenience store down the street.

Better yet, how about something fresh from a restaurant?

Increasingly, consumers are looking at quick-service restaurants to grab a bite to eat during nontraditional dining hours, such as mid-morning, mid-afternoon, or late evening.

Chick-fil-A Opens Express Location in Omaha

For the first time in Omaha, Nebraska, Chick-fil-A’s famous chicken sandwiches, salads, and waffle fries will be available to the public.

Through a special arrangement with Mutual of Omaha food service provider Eurest, a Chick-fil-A Express location will open in the lobby of the Mutual of Omaha Bank building at 3333 Farnam St.

The Price of Global Growth

As international markets embrace a more Westernized diet, U.S. restaurants face the pressure of rising commodities costs.

Over the last decade, American quick-service behemoths such as McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Pizza Hut have surged into international markets and captured diners’ interests with American dishes. But new data shows the whole industry might pay a price for that global growth.

The growing appeal of U.S. fast food in international markets has shifted world commodity supplies and spurred rising prices.

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