Starbucks: Say Good-Bye To Breakfast Sandwiches, Hello To $1 Coffee

Starbucks recently announced that they would begin selling their “short” cups of brewed coffee for $1 a piece, and offering free refills of brewed coffee as a test in their home market of Seattle.

CEO Howard Shultz also announced that breakfast sandwiches were on the way out. From Starbucks Gossip:

** The warm sandwiches “are going to be out by year’s end.” In the meantime, they will be “de-emphasized.”

** Serving sandwiches got in the way of employees’ “ability to make the perfect shot of espresso.” In other words, spending time on sandwiches took away from the focus on coffee.

** The sandwiches will be replaced with “a breakfast menu that delivers what our customers are asking for.”

Does this matter to anyone? We were too scared to eat these creepy looking sandwiches. They looked like they were made of failure.

Starbucks to get rid of warm breakfast sandwiches [Starbucks Gossip]
(Photo:cleverclaire)

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  1. cabooglio says:

    That’s odd because I’m in the Detroit area and every Starbucks in town has been heavily promoting the impending arrival of warm breakfast sandwiches (which they don’t currently have). I think it’s supposed to happen within the next week or so.

  2. loganmo says:

    “Serving sandwiches got in the way of employees’ ability to make the perfect shot of espresso.”

    Um….Starbucks uses fully automated espresso makers…all they do is push a button and out it comes-I don’t see how that requires tons of attention?

  3. headon says:

    Yuck burnt coffee for $1.00 I’ll pass. Besides America runs on Dunkin.

  4. shoegazer says:

    That’s the sweet, sweet smell of recession. Did you know in some countries they sell shampoo in $0.15 sachets? Since people can’t afford larger “economy” sizes they market to the other extreme. Kinda like the “99 calorie” granola bars that’s actually 1/3 of a regular sized bar.

  5. Ruthven says:

    Starbucks has breakfast sandwiches?

  6. Phunk says:

    “Serving sandwiches got in the way of employees’ ability to make the perfect shot of espresso.”

    Translation: The sandwich angle, although interesting, cut into our margin much more than the coffee we sell. It also required certain types of health code compliance that is not needed with just serving a glorified cup of coffee.

    No surprising. And anyways, when people buy breakfast fast food, they want good breakfast fast food, not crunchy granola set crap.

    This is why McDonalds exists.

  7. FLConsumer says:

    $1 is still too much for Starbuck’s coffee… BUT I never knew they had breakfast sandwiches. One of the local coffee places here has great breakfast sandwiches (and coffee!), all for what Starbuck’s charges for coffee.

  8. aparsons says:

    @headon: i thought their coffee tasted burnt too, until I asked for the mild blend… and I was impressed.

  9. shan6 says:

    The only Starbucks I drink is the coffee I buy in a bag and make at home, mostly because it is excellent coffee. MMMM Komodo Dragon.

  10. nweaver says:

    a: I actually liked the sandwitches. Its nice to be able to have a non-sweet breakfast item, when traveling, that you know is consistent. Yeah, they weren’t great, but they weren’t bad.

    b: “Make a perfect shot of expresso”?!? Say what? The system is so automated (automated expresso, automated milk steamers) that all the counter person has to do is assemble the components. (And, in my experience, they are still slower than Pete’s, which uses real expresso machines rather than ExpressoBorgs)

  11. Juliekins says:

    Blech. The last thing I want with my foo-foo coffee is a nasty sandwich. I wish my local Starbucks would get a big basket of fresh fruit already. A venti nonfat mocha and a big orange is one of my favorite breakfasts.

  12. Snarkysnake says:

    I like this. It looks like this new(old) management wants to end the “mission creep” that the recently deposed management imposed. Great. Starbucks didn’t make theiri reputation with breakfast sandwiches. They made it with coffee. Period. On the off chance that these breakfast sandwiches ever got popular,they would be a big fat target for the corporate bean counters to fuck around with and before long you would have… I don’t want to think about it.
    Prices. The number one complaint that I hear about ‘bux coffee is that its wayyyyy overpriced.This is a concern. they better get that fixed because when that image is fixed in consumers minds,its as tough to change as being thought of as crappy cheap.

  13. Maude Buttons says:

    “Serving sandwiches got in the way of employees’ “ability to make the perfect shot of espresso.” In other words, spending time on sandwiches took away from the focus on coffee.”

    Yeah — those beans aren’t going to burn themselves nasty by themselves.

  14. ianmac47 says:

    Don’t take the Breakfast sandwiches!

  15. ftrain says:

    I like their breakfast sandwiches. The display sandwiches did look suspect but they tasted fine.

  16. shertzerj says:

    Mmm… warm breakfast sandwiches. Knew I should’ve stopped somewhere on the way to work.

  17. PinkBox says:

    I’m interested to know what kind of new breakfast items they’ll be offering.

    Hopefully not more stale hard as rock pastries they pull from the freezer.

  18. facework says:

    Look out Starbucks, that large object in your rearview mirror is…the golden arches. The irony–McDonalds has figured out how to make a good cup of coffee, but Starbucks is either too arrogant or too out of touch to understand that a decent breakfast sandwich is more than weird, overpriced prepackaged food substance. I thought their breakfast sandwich was revolting. However, I’m certainly not too snooty (or healthy conscious) to enjoy the value and good flavor of a sausage & egg McMuffin and a large cuppa Joe.

  19. MonkeyMonk says:

    I was excited that my local Starbucks was getting breakfast sandwiches last year . . . excited until I fnally ate one.

  20. Nancy Sin says:

    Anything closer to resembling breakfast (and not dessert) would be an improvement. It’s sad when a plain croissant is the sensible option.

  21. arch05 says:

    the next person that says eXpresso gets an atomic bomb in the face

  22. harknell says:

    It’s funny, I tried one of the sandwiches right when they were test marketing them and they were excellent. Fresh ingredients, freshly made, great price.

    Then when the local stores got them in, they were prepackaged, quickly made, and pretty bland. The conversion from test idea to easily produced and distributed basically killed them.

  23. Anonymous says:

    $1 for a cup of coffee AND free refills? It’s all downhill for Starbucks now…next thing you know they will be offering value meals and a .99 menu. I miss the old expensive, trendy, crappy $4 Starbucks coffee.

  24. arch05 says:

    @causticitty: Too bad they’re all delivered fresh every morning and thrown away every closing.

  25. Phunk says:

    @facework: See that’s what I’m talking about! The Sausage Egg McMuffin is the pinnacle of breakfast sandwich art. Nothing even remotely compares to it.

  26. LorneReams says:

    This is odd. The act of 1. Unwrapping a sealed package and 2. Putting the item in the oven for 1 minute, is keeping them from making perfect coffee?

  27. Falconfire says:

    @LorneReams: No no, is keeping them from putting a glass under a machine DESIGNED to make perfect coffee….

    I dont think a starbucks hack could even understand HOW to pull a shot if they saw a real machine.

  28. Pop Socket says:

    As long as they don’t mess with the cranberry muffins.

    “Burnt coffee” comment ratio running at 9%. “Overpriced” holding steady at 9% as well.

  29. FLConsumer says:

    @facework: Actually… combine McDonald’s coffee + their ubiquity of locations and their McDonald’s Bistro menu (and include some decent breakfast sandwiches instead of their usual fast food crap), they’ve got an absolute winner.

  30. spinachdip says:

    The thing is, Starbucks has always had “short” drinks, but they were off-menu. Some drinks, like cappuccino, taste better short: [www.slate.com]

  31. VeeKaChu says:

    @Phunk:
    The pinnacle of the breakfast sandwich art is the Steak Bagel sans onion. But yes, the S/E/MM did reign for quite a while.

  32. stinkingbob says:

    Starbucks should keep the breakfast sandwiches. They are quick and easy to make. Stupid move on their part. The ironic part to all of this and this applies to all businesses is that they believe that by cutting items or jobs, they will actually save money and earn more profits. BUT, the exact opposite happens due to poor customer service. In effect, the recession is not the killer of businesses, but the business itself!
    Lastly, the starBuck $1 cup of coffee is another bad idea. Why? Imagine how small that cup must be for $1.00.
    This si the beginning of the end for starbucks.

  33. TrishMvhl says:

    The sandwiches were decent, even if they didn’t look too pretty in the case. I really liked being able to grab something hot to eat when deadline crunching on a cold morning. The pastry items suck… you don’t always want something sweet.

  34. bluewyvern says:

    I don’t know. The one and only time in recent memory I attempted to have a sausage egg mcmuffin, it was soggy and misshapen, and they left out the sausage. Not much of a pinnacle of anything, except seething disappointment.

  35. Elijah-M says:

    In my opinion, Starbucks’ breakfast sandwiches are very good. They are on par with what I’ve gotten at Panera Bread or Au Bon Pain, and much better than anything I’ve ever had at McDonald’s or Dunkin’ Donuts. However, unlike the breakfast items in the case, they require on-the-spot preparation. So when someone orders a breakfast sandwich, the third employee – who floats between the second register and making espresso drinks – has to step away and make the sandwich, thereby causing the line to back up.

    McDonalds may have great coffee for I know, but I’m not going there for the same reason I don’t shop at Wal Mart. If they start treating their employees better (so they, in turn, can treat me better), perhaps I’ll reconsider.

    Everyone here lamenting the price of Starbucks’ over-roasted coffee probably doesn’t go there anyway. If they did, they would have noticed that Dunkin’ Donuts’ diluted coffee – not their specialty drinks, but their coffee – is actually more expensive. Yeah, I get it. We all get it. You don’t like Starbucks. Shut up already.

  36. remusrm says:

    Hey guys… I agree with startbucks on this one. They have great sandwiches but they take 3-5 min to make and since I had a few I would know. Now the 1 dollar coffee might be a small daily brew. is ok, but their small is really small, and have you ever seen the short? Their “coffee” is pretty ok in price, their stupid crappy mixed drinks are pricey and honestly they taste like crap, so does the regular coffee. It tastes sour, acidic and burned. Bring back the real coffee: columbia, yukon, breakfast blend, house blend and do not brew them to death.

  37. Anitra says:

    What Elijah-M said – the Starbucks sandwiches aren’t the McD’s unwrap-and-heat variety, they require a bit of preparation. I eat them occasionally, but my husband LOVES them. I don’t know what he’ll do when they’re gone; probably go back to having coffee and no food when we go to SB for a breakfast treat.

  38. yesteryear says:

    wow. an argument about what’s better, starbucks or mcdonalds. im nauseous.

  39. arch05 says:

    @stinkingbob: “This si (sic.) the beginning of the end for starbucks.”

    They’ve always had the short size available. No end in sight.

  40. LorneReams says:

    The idea of a cheap small coffee with unlimited refills is actually a good idea for them. Right now, I pay about $3 for a French press which tastes awesome and you get about 3 full cups worth of actually good coffee. You can even ask them to make you one with whatever premium coffee they have laying around and it’s the same price.

  41. stillkarenann says:

    Happy to see them go! Stores that sold ‘em smelled like McDonalds. When i go into a coffee shop, I want to smell coffee, not eggamcmoobymuffins.

  42. jamar0303 says:

    The Shanghai stores all have great breakfast sandwiches. They better not be phasing those out because they are win. Of course, if they go, Starbucks here has other nice things like cheesecake and tiramisu. I hate going back to Starbucks in America because I miss all this stuff.

  43. Finder says:

    LMAO @ “make the prefect shot of espresso”.

  44. goodcow says:

    I actually liked their breakfast sandwich… but being vegetarian, they ended up pulling the only sandwich option I could eat a while ago, for no apparent reason.

  45. dorianh49 says:

    I guess I’ll starve. I loved the breakfast sandwiches.

  46. Chongo says:

    They even had a low fat breakfast sandwich that ALMOST didn’t taste like cardboard. Not bad compared to pretty much anywhere else.

  47. zimzombie says:

    @loganmo: Actually, the preparation beyond the actual pulling of the shot can have enormous impact on the taste. Starbucks’ espresso is so good because they a) have nice ingredients and machines and b) follow a rigorous preparation method.

    Milk has to be added to a shot within a few seconds of pulling, so it doesn’t develop a bitter taste (beyond that of normal espresso). I’ve tried other local coffee shops, and often they have the shot sitting for like a minute. It tastes really bitter.

  48. stinkingbob says:

    Well, let me ask you this: When you go to starbucks, do you go JUST to get coffee, or do you go to get coffee and eat something along with it? For me, I can’t drink coffee unless I have some kind of food, sandwich or donut. A lot of people I see in the morning time are the same way to. If starbucks does axe the quick bites, they will lose customers to McDonalds. I understand that it takes time to make the sandwich, but I don’t mind waiting a few extra minutes for it. If I wanted something quick, then yes, I would hit McDonalds in a heartbeat.

  49. rjhiggins says:

    So, people here are critical of Starbucks breakfast sandwiches but absolutely love their Sausage and Egg McMuffin? That says quite a bit about the taste of the American consumer.

  50. nequam says:

    The sandwiches are good, but I’m g;ad to see them go because they disrupted the ordering/serving process.

  51. Sherryness says:

    Usually when people complain that Starbucks coffee is “overpriced,” (or tastes “burned”) it’s because they don’t realize they are talking about lattes. The drip coffee is very reasonable and tastes like regular coffee. But most people don’t usually get drip coffee, they get a LATTE – which is espresso and steamed milk – a much heftier item as far as preparation, equipment and ingredient. Espresso is more expensive than regular coffee and tastes a LOT stronger (and packs more of a caffeine punch)! Personally, I like a triple-shot grande. Plain drip coffee just tastes like mud-water to me.

  52. Sherryness says:

    I wonder if they will have things like Panera bread has for breakfast items – they have this little souffle-quiche thing that is amazing. Oh, and their mochas are superior to any mocha I’ve had anywhere!

  53. stinkingbob says:

    @rjhiggins:
    The taste of the American consumer has long been gone!

  54. dotyoureyes says:

    Huh. I actually liked the breakfast sandwiches! They beat a mcmuffin any day.

    But I can see how they weren’t great for workflow — you’d basically have to put an employee just on sandwich patrol. If there weren’t enough sandwiches for a full employee, it took them off whatever they were doing before.

    Guess it’s all premade muffins from here on out. So much for morning protein.

  55. camille_javal says:

    @Sherryness: No, quite the opposite – I think their drip coffee tastes burned – it’s typically incredibly acidic as well, which I don’t enjoy.

    The egg substitute/turkey bacon/non-American cheese breakfast sandwich was actually pretty good, and very high in protein – eating fruit or pastry for breakfast (or skipping breakfast) leads to me passing out twenty minutes later. It was handy when I was running late for work.

  56. stinkingbob says:

    Wait a minute, we can use this same logic and say that Starbucks should sell nothing but coffee. No food, no desserts, nothing. If you want an apple pie, it takes them at least 2 minutes to get it and put it in a container, get the napkins and fork. That 2 minutes could be used to get another customer a coffee.

  57. floridastylee says:

    the spinach breakfast wrap is my FAVORITE. I really hope they decide to include it in the breakfast menu.

  58. chstwnd says:

    @loganmo:
    …I don’t see how that requires tons of attention?

    or skill or a specialized title and premium wages.

  59. Sherryness says:

    @ CAMILLE_JAVAL
    Well, that’s why I said “usually” – because that’s what most people are referring to. As far as actual plain drip coffee I really can’t judge – because I don’t like drip coffee. To each our own.

  60. Sherryness says:

    I apologize to the forum – I don’t know how to that at sign thingie when replying.

  61. Elijah-M says:

    @stinkingbob: It takes a lot longer to prepare and package a breakfast sandwich than it does to package any of the ready-made items in the case.

  62. MercuryPDX says:

    :( The “Pepper bacon” was the only one I liked.

  63. dantsea says:

    @facework: The irony here is that the beans McDonald’s uses in most regions are from Seattle’s Best Coffee, which is a Starbucks company.

  64. richtaur says:

    Good riddance, the sandwiches were microwaved nastiness.

  65. ohgoodness says:

    I’m just stoked about $1 coffees. But hang around long enough to get a refil? No thx.

  66. webothlikesoup says:

    @mercurypdx: I was thinking the same thing. Pepper bacon. Dammit.

    There are four Starbucks all within a block of where I work in NYC. Lines are easily 20 people deep in the morning. Everything moves along quickly until someone orders a sandwich. After that, it’s a slow slog to the registers.

    Can’t say they’ll lose any business in NYC because of the sandwich departures (if it happens). They’ll probably even pick up more customers because the lines will keep moving.

    My vote for the best coffee goes to Intelligensia’s Black Cat Espresso. Sweet baby j, that’s good coffee. Worth the price to ship it from Chicago.

  67. gruffydd says:

    The Breakfast sandwiches are also a tasty lunch!

  68. mandarin says:

    Could have sworn their sandwiches suck balls…

  69. itonix says:

    Breakfast with no eggs does not do it for me. That is why I choose Cosi over SB for breakfast. In future I can not see a reason why McDonnalds monkey could not make Americano from superautomatica machine just as well as SB.

  70. swalve says:

    Their sandwiches are tasty, and they are about as good as you are going to get given their preparation constraints, but I think they are a little too greasy and chewey. It’s an artifact of the prep style- the edges of the bun and the cheddar cheese get burnt and go yucky.

    If they came up with a different way to prepare the sandwiches that focused a little more on quality, they’d have a winner. Heck, I think all it’d take is cooking the sandwich open faced and adjusting the cook time.

  71. nardo218 says:

    For some reason, I’ll pay $3 for coffee but not $6 for a sandwich or cheeseplate. Maybe because the coffee is a specialty and the food is the same stuff you can get at the prepared foods section of the grocery store, or at Wawa.

  72. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    You know the recession is official when Starbucks introduces a $1 “value menu.”

    I’m sure the profit on the sandwiches wasn’t enough to convince the bean counters that they were worth it. I never had one of their sandwiches, so I guess I won’t miss them.

  73. Maulleigh says:

    My roommate says the sandwiches suck ass exactly because of the reason you mention: they take too much time away from MAKING THE COFFEE!!

    They were tasty though. I did have a sample once.

  74. JustEaton says:

    This is horrible. I JUST fell in love with their sandwiches, after a friend bought me one. Now they’re getting rid of them? Damnit.

  75. JustEaton says:

    @JustEaton: Dammit too. It’s all preference.

  76. drjayphd says:

    @Chongo: Yeah, I love those. A little too chewy, especially the cheese (which shouldn’t be in the first place, but it’s the low-fat variety, so it comes with the territory, I guess) but objectively pretty good nonetheless.

  77. fairywench says:

    Those who are making comments about the coffee tasting burnt are actually just announcing to the world that they have a unsophisticated palate. Not surprising when you notice how many people are talking about McDonald’s products as if they were actually food.

    Personally, I can appreciate both Starbuck’s and Dunkin’ Donut’s coffee.

    And for those who are complaining about Starbuck’s coffee being expensive – I’m always surprised at how cheap it is for a premium product. But I only get a small (What do they call actually it? A tall?) plain coffee, which is equivalent to a normal sized coffee someplace else. If you’re getting one of their enormo-humongous monster coffees, of course it’s going to be more than a regular coffee at a gas station. And if you’re getting a latte or cappuccino or any one of their other fancy drinks, some of which are more like dessert than coffee, well of course you’re going to pay more. Get a dessert in a nice restaurant and it will probably cost more than a cup of coffee there too.

  78. pauljunk says:

    Starbucks… diarrhea. Dunkin Donuts… pisswater.

    TIM HORTON’S OWNS THE COMPETITION. I only wish they’d expand into the states more to show the chump coffee hack shops how to sell delicious coffee to the masses.

    I’m thinking about their Canadian Maple donut right now….

  79. EricaJoy says:

    I like the breakfast sandwich. Starbucks is the only place I know of that I can get a sandwich made with turkey bacon. Now I’ll have to find some other place in Chelsea that sells non-pork breakfast sandwiches. Suggestions?

  80. quieterhue says:

    This is definitely a positive development. Food is Starbuck’s weak spot–everything tastes like concentrated preservatives. I may actually start buying coffee there in the morning if the elimination of breakfast sandwiches makes the line move faster.

    One-dollar coffee would also be awesome, but I’m not holding my breath that that particular development will make it to NYC. That would put SBUX in competition with the street vendors, which seems like a recipe from some sort of inter-coffee-purveyor rumble.

  81. Topcat says:

    @pauljunk: You know it. Tim Hortons’ Breakfast Sandwich is a beacon from the gods, as well. It’s almost exactly like a mcmuffin, except instead of an english muffin they serve it on a tea biscuit. Essentially, they give you egg, cheese and bacon/sausage wrapped in butter. Delicious!

    Their coffee isn’t great by any shakes, but it’s reliably not bad, and downright saintly whenever you’re in small-town Canada.

    @fairywench: Actually, no. I have a sophisticated palate and can recognize spicy/fruity/nutty/sweet and a myriad of other tastes in coffee (and can even tell you where coffee is grown that is known for specific tastes). Starbucks coffee, in all of its varieties, has none of these flavours. It is masked by the flavour of the roast, which is to say that it is completely overroasted. I’ve never had a cup of ‘mild’ roast coffee from Starbucks that wasn’t horrid.