Starbucks Is Opening An Italian Restaurant

Starbucks is testing the waters in the restaurant industry as a stand-alone eatery and stepping their food game all the way up.

Starbucks and Princi, a Milan-based bakery, have teamed up to offer Starbucks customers fresh menu items, including focaccia sandwiches, margherita pizzas and tiramisu, the Washington Post reports.

Princi bakery will open in Starbucks' upscale Reserve Roastery location in Seattle. The end game is clear: open Princi bakeries across all of its Reserve locations, and hopefully by next year, open stand-alone Princi eateries across the country.

The partnership is not the coffee company's latest foray into the food business; cake pops, truffle mac and cheese, even sushi burritos can be found in Starbucks' refrigerated display case, but not many customers are taken by prepackaged food. And Starbucks can't help it -- their stores don't have kitchens.

The Princi locations have full kitchens with specially trained staff ("commessas") to inform customers of what items are available, which will change throughout the day. Washington Post reports that the menu will include 100 items, such as baked eggs for breakfast, caprese salads for lunch, small plates for dinner and tarts and cookies for dessert; items will be priced between $3 and $11.

And from the sound of it, it'll be a complete dining experience: "from flaky cornetti to focaccia sandwiches filled with salame Milano and mozzarella di bufala or crostata fragola," the press release states.

The partnership is mutual: Starbucks became Princi's global licensee, allowing Princi U.S. workers to be employed by the coffee company. Rocco Princi's bakery has gained a devoted customer base throughout his six stores across Milan and in London's Soho neighborhood and is now taking root in Seattle. 

Starbucks also prepares to open its first coffee shops in Italy next year, beginning with its Milan Roastery. Soon, Starbucks Reserve Roasteries will all feature Princi bakeries.

According to Starbucks' press release, Princi will be found in Shanghai (December 2017), Milan (late 2018) and New York, Tokyo and Chicago later in the future.

And this is only the beginning for both eateries.