Starbucks is closing all 23 of its standalone La Boulange bakeries just three years after bringing the brand into its fold. This is bad news for carb-loving patrons, as well as for Starbucks, which was experimenting with the bakeries as an expansion beyond its staple of coffee and snacks.
In a statement, Starbucks said that the La Boulange stores “are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth,” and that current employees will be given incentives to stay at their jobs until the stores close. Starbucks will allegedly help get them new jobs at the company’s other locations. La Boulange pastries will, however, continue to be available at Starbucks locations.
La Boulange is a relatively new addition to the Starbucks fold: The retail giant purchased La Boulange’s corporate parent, Bay Bread LLC, in 2012 for $100 million. Pascal Rigo, La Boulange’s French-born founder, joined Starbucks as senior vice president of food as part of the acquisition. According to Starbucks, Rigo is leaving the company as well.
Fast Company spoke with Rigo back in November 2013 about his work transforming Starbucks’s pastry selection. Rigo’s baked goods were slow to roll out in Starbucks stores, which might explain why Starbucks is now refocusing its efforts:
“One reason you haven’t heard a huge marketing push about how Starbucks has ditched its old food in favor of the new is because it’s still rolling out the new menu. Rigo’s baked goods are currently available in under half of Starbucks’s North America stores, some 3,600 of them. The remainder should see Rigo’s goodies by summer of next year…”
Earlier this week, we published a deep dive into Starbucks’s controversial Race Together initiative.