On May 2nd, Starbucks announced that Michelle Gass (at left) will return to the U.S. this summer to work directly with Howard Schultz. (She's been in charge of Starbucks' Europe, Middle East and Africa unit and running SBUX's Seattle's Best Coffee division.)
Today it was announced that Gass is leaving Starbucks after 16 years to become Kohl's chief customer officer.
"I was recently informed that all of DM [name withheld for now]'s stores in Houston were ordered to charge double price for no-water iced teas.
This would make a Trenta sized iced tea almost seven dollars! There's no way that this is Starbucks policy. Even charging for a refill in this situation seems unreasonable. Can you please help me bring attention to this to get it stopped?"
Is there anyone from the Houston area familiar with this charge-them-double policy? What's the reaction to it -- from customers and SBUX employees? Do any other stores do this?
Melissa Allison, who is on the Starbucks beat for the Seattle Times, traveled to San Francisco to talk to La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo about his plans for transforming Starbucks pastry and sandwich cases over the next five years.
She writes of the La Boulange era at SBUX:
"Some customer favorites remain, including croissants, pumpkin loaf and lemon loaf, but with new recipes that do not include hard-to-pronounce ingredients such as guar gum. The new effort also has eliminated all preservatives except nitrates in the ham-and-cheese croissant.
"Then there are an array of new goodies, from chocolate croissants to that ham-and-cheese croissant to chocolate molten cake."
You'll know that La Boulange has arrived at your Starbucks when you start seeing a lot of pink.
"Pastry cases will be lined with pink paper, and muffins and cookies will leave the store in pink 'La Boulange' bags also bearing the green Starbucks logo," reports Allison.
La Boulange mini-bakeries recently debuted in Starbucks stores in San Francisco, and they'll be inside of 348 Seattle stores on June 4. By August 2014, La Boulange products will be in every Starbucks store in the U.S.
The downtown Evanston (Ill.) Starbucks has been one of my hangouts for over a decade. It is -- or was -- a small store with only 7 or tables, and always packed with Northwestern University students. Today the SBUX crew moved into much larger digs just 3 doors down. Lines were out the door on opening day today; congrats on a nice addition to Evanston's downtown.