La Boulange is Starbucks' latest culinary gimmick (the word culinary here is being used more than loosely), pastries inspired by San Francisco bakery, La Boulange, are now served warm at select Starbucks. Wait, what, Starbucks didn't serve their baked goods warm before?
I hadn't noticed, and now, I'm irritated. What kind of bamboozling is going on? A great deal of it, I might say.
There are so many things wrong with the push for these warmed up, chumped up, dry pieces of bread that were probably shipped from who knows where and cast behind the dreary, smudged glass that is the Starbucks delicacy case (delicacy also used loosely). What is the difference between the old Starbucks bakery options and the new, apart from all the pink and suffocating femininity that reminds one of baby powder and convalescent living? Why, because the goods are WARM, WARM I SAY!
Warm. Wow. Lets' rediscover the wheel while we're at it.
Starbucks' La Boulange marketing push is an attempt to undermine the intelligence of customers with an excuse to charge more for ten seconds in the microwave. La Boulange isn't freshly baked, local, or even organic, it's been nuked, people, and that's not okay. Take advantage of the fact that they're offering free samples, because this is the only value I can see from the whole thing. "Served Warm," their bugling value proposition, reminds me a bit of Lucky Strike's "It's Toasted," from the first season of Mad Men. Everyone's bakery items can be warmed up, everyone's cigarettes are toasted. Choice words, bright colors, and cheesy cafe style vases of plastic roses don't deviate from the fact that the La Boulange value proposition offers little to no value.
What would be acceptable to me, you ask? First off, this kind of unremitting hype should exist for a product and value that deserves it. The "delicious change" that should be coming to Starbucks should have a lot more impact than a fancy warmer. Perhaps fresh baked croissants every morning (select locations could have one of the portable bread ovens like the those used to flash bake bread at Subway) and sell them between the hours of 6 am and 9 or 10 am. When they're out of the items, they're out, but the baked good would be freshly baked on site, and only require morning prep. Fresh baked, to me, deserve more a hoopla than "warm."
Market this new offering without the gimmicky frou-frou at the start of October when items served warm will appeal to the season. While providing samples is appreciated and the promotional effort commendable, the value of the change in question is a veritable scammy joke. Hype where hype is undue lends itself to cheesiness, not unlike the plastic pink tablecloth upon which my laptop presently rests.