The coffee giant began testing brunch at 78 stores in the greater Portland and Seattle area on Aug. 27, according to a blog post by Starbucks expert Starbucks Melody. The "Weekend Brunch" menu is fairly limited, offering Baked French Toast, Belgian Waffles, and Quiche with cage-free eggs. The brunch foods are being offered from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., or the food runs out, according to the post. But what's not on the menu may be as important as what's on it: there are no alcoholic mimosas or Bloody Mary's, two brunch hour staples. Each are often sold "bottom-less" during brunch, meaning a diner pays one set price for an unlimited number of drinks. The customer then stumbles home, or perhaps calls an Uber.
It's not as if Starbucks has never sold alcohol before. The company is pressing ahead with its evening menu, which consists of small plates to be shared in a group and various wines and beer. After testing the menu in select stores in 2010, evening food is now available in over 300 U.S. Starbucks locations.
Nevertheless, it makes sense that Starbucks is looking at brunch as a potential opportunity as it battles a stretch of slower sales growth.
Same-store sales for the fiscal third quarter ended June 26 rose 4% in the U.S., snapping a 25-quarter stretch of 5% growth or greater. Results also marked a steep slowdown from 7% same-store sales growth delivered in the preceding quarter. Net sales rose 7% from the prior year to $5.2 billion, falling shy of Wall Street estimates for $5.34 billion.