Au revoir, La Boulange. Starbucks, which purchased the San Francisco coffee and baked goods chain for $100 million in 2012, has announced that it will shutter all of that chain's 23 locations, 15 of them San Francisco. Those, along with the Evolution Fresh retail location on Fillmore and the two "manufacturing facilities" that serve La Boulange, will be gone by the end of September.
Starbucks plans to continue sales of La Boulange branded pastries nationwide, which although not an immediate hit with customers, the company still cites as an important part of their "breakfast platform."
Here's the rest of the corporate gobbledygook from Starbucks.
As Starbucks stays steadfast in its commitment to achieve long-term growth targets enterprise-wide, it is with careful consideration the company shares the difficult decision to close all 23 La Boulange retail (bakery cafés) locations, as well as the two manufacturing facilities that serve those locations, by the end of September 2015. As a standard course of business, Starbucks continually evaluates all components of its business to confirm they are aligned with key priorities and strategies for growth, which includes the continued analysis of the store portfolio. Based on our ongoing evaluations, Starbucks has determined La Boulange stores are not sustainable for the company’s long-term growth. The La Boulange brand will continue to play a significant role in the future of Starbucks food in stores, and the company looks forward to serving delicious La Boulange food at its Starbucks retail locations in San Francisco and across the U.S. and Canada.
Naturally, a large number of employees will be out of work come September. Not to worry, Starbucks says. "All partners (employees) who work in these locations are being treated with the utmost care - receiving personalized transition materials and having in-person conversations with their managers to explain this decision. Where possible, Starbucks will help partners find new positions at Starbucks stores in the area."
Looking back, La Boulange was always just a drop in Starbucks' venti-sized coffee empire, which saw over $16 billion in revenue last year as it operated a staggering 21,536 locations worldwide. Though large by San Francisco standards, La Boulange is quaint in comparison. French-American founder Pascal Rigo opened his first La Boulange location in 1996 on Pine Street. And with a number of prime locations like that one and the Hayes Valley spot pictured above, Starbucks will likely fare with sales of its its newest product, San Francisco real-estate. On a happier note, maybe we'll see some interesting new things pop up, too.
Perhaps now we can refocus our attention to Blue Bottle, a burgeoning local coffee company that staged its own pastry coup by absorbing Tartine in April. Jesus God let's hope that acquisition has a sweeter ending.
Previously: Starbucks Buys La Boulange