The Passion of the Cup
That’s a saying from Starbucks lore that has helped its marketing department better understand the emotional connection Starbucks customers have with their favorite Starbucks beverage.
Starbucks was founded on the passion for great-tasting coffee. This passion for the coffee that goes in a Starbucks cup has driven the company to achieve far more than most thought possible.
However, I’m not sure the passion that goes in the cup will stir the passions of those who hold the cup as it relates to Starbucks latest test market product – Grani. Grani is a fanciful name for combining steamed milk with Kellogg’s Low-Fat Granola in a tall (12 oz.) Starbucks logo’d cup.
Yep … Starbucks is selling ho-hum Kellogg’s Low-Fat Granola in its iconic logo’d cups.
It’s only in test market phase at 12 Indianapolis Starbucks locations but if successful, from a sales perspective and from an operational perspective, Starbucks will expand the Grani test to a few other markets before deciding upon a national roll-out.
The Ad Age article (Feb. 6, 2006), which first reported the Starbucks/Kellogg’s partnership, went way over-the-top when it said Grani could, “… allow Starbucks to finally crack the code on a signature hot breakfast item and lift check average to boot.”
Gratuitous usage of signature aside, are we really to believe serving up Kellogg’s Low-Fat Granola with steamed milk is going to significantly drive sales at Starbucks? Stores will be fortunate to sell 5 units per store per day of Grani. And if a Starbucks sells 5 granola cups a day at an estimated $3.25 per cup … we are looking at a Starbucks taking in slightly less than $6,000 in Grani sales for a full year. Not sure $6k a year at the store level constitutes cracking the code on a signature hot breakfast item.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for Starbucks selling granola. After all … ain't nuthin' new with Starbucks selling granola. In the 90s, Starbucks sold little plastic bowls of artisan granola. What is new is partnering with a major consumer packaged goods company to serve as its granola supplier.
I’ve had Kellogg’s Low-Fat Granola many times – it’s okay. But it’s certainly not best-in-class granola. In fact, the coffee equivalent of Kellogg’s Low-Fat Granola would be canned Folger’s coffee. Ugh … that low-brow granola from Kellogg’s is going in the same logo’d cup which holds coffee Starbucks contends is best-in-class. Double Ugh.
If Starbucks was really seriously about upholding its mindset of “the passion that goes in the cup can stir the passion of those who hold the cup,” they should partner with a best-in-class granola maker like La Brea Bakery. La Brea is passionate about making great bread and making artisan granola. Plus, La Brea’s CEO is a former Starbucks executive. Sounds like a good match to me.