Siren Song

Interview with Steven Dominguez, director of marketing, Starbucks Foodservice

Abbie Westra, Director, Editorial, CSP

SEATTLE -- This year marks the 40th anniversary of Starbucks, and the coffee giant has taken the opportunity to tweak its brand. As a consumer, you've likely seen the changes on your cup of Starbucks coffee. But the company is also changing its foodservice branding in tandem with the retail evolution--all with the goal of making the brand more expansive and flexible for growth beyond a regular cup of joe.

Fare Digest spoke with Steven Dominguez, director of marketing for Starbucks Foodservice, on what the rebranding means for the company, plus additional rollouts for the rest of the year.

[image-nocss]Fare Digest: How has the Starbucks Foodservice brand evolution unfolded? Did the two departments (foodservice and retail) work in unison on the rebranding?
Absolutely. As a part of our one-voice strategy, all channels of our business worked together to ensure a cohesive brand rollout, capable of extending the Starbucks experience. Our new brand gives us the freedom and flexibility to explore new products and channels of distribution that will allow us to innovate while remaining true to our core. In addition to the new logo in foodservice outlets, our tagline is changing from "We Proudly Brew" to "We Proudly Serve" to better reflect the wider variety of products that are now available.

How has reaction been to the new logo?
The brand transition has been very well received by customers in both our retail stores and foodservice outlets. Throughout the last four decades, the Siren has been there through it all. Now, we've given her a subtle but meaningful update to ensure that the Starbucks brand continues to embrace our heritage in ways that are true to our core values and that also ensure we remain relevant and poised for future growth. Our new brand identity will give us the freedom and flexibility to explore innovations and new channels of distribution that will keep us in step with our current customers and build strong connections with new customers.

Now more than ever, Starbucks is working to create a cohesive brand identity across all channels--CPG, foodservice and retail. Our renewed brand identity reflects the evolution of Starbucks business. Yes, Starbucks stands for great coffee, but there are also non-coffee products at retail and in CPG that are proudly branded Starbucks, such as Starbucks tea (in some international markets) and ice cream packaging that must currently be stamped "coffee free." In foodservice specifically, the new "We Proudly Serve" tagline better reflects the breadth of the brand portfolio, which extends beyond brewed coffee and supports the company's goal of extending the Starbucks experience beyond its retail stores.

FD: What is the new Auto Espresso program?
Following a six-month test, an exciting new addition to the Auto Espresso program just launched at the end of April. The new addition, a Starbucks-branded Concordia Integra 4 automatic espresso machine, features four flavor infusions at the touch of a button, hot and cold beverages with easy cleanup, and a range of 164 possible beverage combinations. The innovative and space-saving machine allows operators to offer a variety of high-quality Starbucks espresso-based beverages and lets operators control portion sizes and waste, which means better margins.

FD: What channels of foodservice is Starbucks focusing on this year?
Our focus is to offer the most value and the best experience to our operators and customers across the board. This is evidenced by the rollout of new products that will benefit a variety of channels, such as Frappuccino blended beverages, which will benefit college & university and hospitality & lodging accounts in particular; the new Auto Espresso solution, which will benefit hospitality & lodging and fine-dining accounts; as well as products like Pike Place Roast and pumpkin latte that benefit operators across the board.

Abbie Westra, CSP/Winsight By Abbie Westra, Director, Editorial, CSP
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