Starbucks Discontinues Breakfast Sandwiches

Or, 'It's the Espresso, Stupid!

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Whether you loved or hated the Starbucksian take on the McMuffin, it will officially be yanked, according to today's New York Times. After making some calls to Washington, D.C., locations, it appears that Monday is the national D-Day, which leaves just three days of devouring the pre-assembled shrink-wrapped sandwiches.

A Brief Starbucks History

Pre-Breakfast Sandwiches

In 1971, they sell just roasted beans and brewing equipment.
In 1982, they add live-made coffee and espresso drinks, all the while fearing that a foray into the beverage world will distract them from bean-roasting.
Along came pastries and banana breads... some ambiguous time in between...

Post-Breakfast Sandwiches

In 2006, they have jealousy issues with McDonald's and create six warm breakfast sandwiches: sausage; peppered bacon; sun-dried tomato with ham; reduced-fat turkey bacon; and eggs Florentine with spinach (all of which include egg and cheese).

On January 30, 2008, that dream dies. With a pending economic recession, Starbucks embraces a turn-around plan, focusing on its original plan: coffee.

But some of the baristas are trapped in a nostalgic, warm breakfast-wich era. When asked about the death sentence this morning, general manager Viliam Kotlarik of a Washington, D.C., branch was as yet unaware of the change and was actually reading an email about it for the first time when questioned. His staffers were equally uninformed. (“Yeah, we have the sandwiches…why?”) The glass display case didn't get the memo either—three sat there, waiting to be reheated and gobbled. As if they weren't about to die! But Kotlarik wasn't spooked. He's convinced his clientele will roll with the punches. "They don't initially, but are always receptive to change in the end."

Besides tasting "marginally edible," was there an aroma issue? All those overlapping fumes of Canadian bacon and coffee? Kotlarik didn’t seem to think so, though Starbucks chairman Howard Shultz did allude to a smelliness factor in the New York Times article.

It's nice to see that the Starbucks menu will be less crazy and more coffee-themed. But let’s all take a moment of silence to say adieu.

About the author: Erin Zimmer, Serious Eats's Washington, D.C., correspondent, is a just-graduated Georgetown gal following her nose about town as Washingtonian magazine's Dining intern and Best Bites blogger. She got her start as the Hoya campus paper's food columnist, and since entering "real person-hood" has ached for her dining hall's omelet station.

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