Can Starbucks drive other “dayparts” with food?

Starbucks is fighting to drive more productivity into its lunch and evening business, in part by selling more food. Several RetailWire panelists commented on this development, and I caution against the same kind of overassortment that has become such a big headache for McDonald’s. Here’s my take:

Starbucks has rebounded from an unsuccessful push into breakfast sandwiches a few years back. (At the time, Howard Shultz complained that the place smelled like eggs instead of coffee, and he was right.) It’s worth exploring how to get more productivity out of lunch and even dinner hours, but the company has to be cautious. Trying to emulate the Panera model without the space to deal with menu complexity could backfire on Starbucks’ core beverage business, and this week’s Wall Street Journal article about “menu complexity” at McDonald’s ought to be a cautionary tale.

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