Photo: (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
At the beginning of the year, Starbucks launched a mild new roast, the Blonde, to compete with McDonald’s and Dunkin doughnuts.It’s working.
Deutsche Bank’s Jason West reports positive feedback from a survey of employees at Starbucks stores around the country.
The Blonde already represents 25-30 per cent of drip coffee orders. Customers feedback is good, and awareness is still growing. The Blonde could add up to 2 per cent to retail same store sales.
The Blonde is the latest in a long line of concessions to the less sophisticated consumers. Back in 2008, the brand launched the medium roast Pike Place, which was itself described by critics as tasting like Folgers and Dunkin doughnuts.
Other concessions include the steady addition of larger sizes popular with Americans, from the original short and tall, to grande, venti and trenta.
The trick is to appeal to the masses without losing the espresso-drinking elite. Starbucks has pulled this off in part due to the lack of upmarket competition and in part because they have drink-making down to a science.
(Full disclosure: This reporter is a former barista.)
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