I eat more meals at Starbucks than I’d care to admit—mostly those irresistible bacon-and-gruyere sous vide egg bites gobbled in traffic (glamorous, I know). Doesn’t it seem that every time you get attached to a menu item there that it disappears? Hopefully those sad wheat sandwiches or paninis weren’t your thing because today Starbucks is announcing a new lunch menu concept launching in 200 local stores: Mercato will feature “vibrant, hearty grab-and-go salads, sandwiches and sides” made fresh every day.
The new menu will all be priced under $10 before tax. A few examples: za’atar chicken and lemon tahini salad with freekah (a whole grain superfood) and cucumber tzatziki, green goddess avocado salad with rice and orzo, roasted chicken sandwich with fig spread and a Cubano sandwich with both pulled pork and smoked loin. Those stores selling the Mercato line will keep their breakfast pastries—so thankfully my egg bites aren’t going anywhere anytime soon—but won’t have the existing salad-and-sandwich lunch options.
Perhaps the most exciting part, from a grand perspective anyway, is that Starbucks will be donating leftover food at the end of the night to Food Lifeline, via the Starbucks FoodShare program.
Starbucks launched Mercato in Chicago in April—Seattle will be the second market. The company has grown its food business by 1.5 times since 2013, with plans to double it by 2021. Listening to what customers want—clearly more grab-and-go options, and healthy, tasty ones at that—seems like a good way to do it.