Starting in May, Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie will no longer supply the food at Starbucks’ Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room on Capitol Hill, as the coffee company prepares an expanding role for its Roastery format.
Starting in May, Tom Douglas’ Serious Pie will no longer supply the food at Starbucks’ Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room on Capitol Hill.
Instead, that role will go to Princi, the high-end Italian bakery Starbucks bought into last year.
Starbucks plans to carry Princi food in all the high-end Roastery stores and Reserve coffee shops it plans to open over the next several years.
It’s part of the coffee chain’s bid to capture more of the high-end market by offering more premium food and coffees to appeal to more discerning palates.
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Serious Pie will be continue to operate in the Roastery until May 1, with Princi moving into the space shortly after, Cliff Burrows, Starbucks’ group president in charge of its Roastery, Reserve, Teavana and Princi operations, said in a message to Roastery employees.
Both Starbucks and Tom Douglas said the parting was amicable and not based on sales performance.
“Part of our initial vision was to showcase Seattle’s unique culinary culture so I asked my good friend, Tom Douglas, to start this journey with us,” Burrows said in his note to employees. “His team executed this flawlessly.”
But with Starbucks planning to expand its Roastery and Reserve stores, baking Princi food in its Seattle Roastery now will enable the company “to learn firsthand how we can elevate this new food experience within the entire premium business model. It is a one of a kind opportunity and Tom agrees,” Burrows said.
Douglas, in an email, said that sales at the Seattle Roastery “are great.”
“When we decided to work together a few years ago, the Roastery was going to be a one off concept,” he said. “With the success of the Roastery and subsequent importance it has become to the Starbucks brand, they needed a partner for worldwide expansion. We are not equipped to do that and it is not in our plans to become so.”
Starbucks invested in, and became a licensee of Princi, last summer. In addition to carrying its food, the coffee company also plans to open standalone Princi stores, the first of which is planned for Seattle.
Over time, Starbucks plans to open 20 to 30 Roasteries, its expansive showpieces, the first of which opened on Capitol Hill in 2014. It also plans to open 1,000 Reserve stores, smaller cafes that, like the Roasteries, will also feature the company’s small-lot premium Reserve beans and different brewing methods.