Starbucks Breakfast Value Meals Begin Today

Yes, today is the day. Starbucks will begin servings its new line of “breakfast pairings” (don’t call them value meals!). For $3.95 you shall receive coffee and an egg sandwich, oatmeal or coffee cake. It’s all part of Starbucks’ latest effort to rid themselves of the perception that they are overpriced — which is probably going to be kinda difficult.

From the New York Times:

About those lattes: the company is fed up with the characterization that it only sells $4 specialty drinks. “The $3.95 price point is a backhanded way to go at the four-buck perception – it’s less than four bucks, and it’s not just a drink, but food to go with it,” said Terry Davenport, Starbucks’s chief marketing officer.

The Times says that chain is also revamping its menus, which will no longer emphasize the pricey specialty drinks and instead focus on brewed and iced coffee.

So, what do you think?

Starbucks Addresses the Price Issue, and Breakfast [NYT]
(Photo:Paxton Holley)

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  1. N.RobertMoses says:

    It doesn’t sound like much of a value.
    Just think how much value there would be if you ate breakfast at home. You could probably eat for a few days for $3.95.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @N.RobertMoses: That’s nice if you get up early enough or have the time. Whenever anyone says, “but you can do that at home cheaper” …well of course. Duh! But the point is, what if you can’t? And what can you do to save money if you have to eat breakfast and you have to do it away from home?

      The Starbucks value meals seem to be a pretty good compromise. I need my coffee fix and their breakfast sandwiches are pretty yummy. And the deal is probably cheaper than McDonalds.

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @pecan 3.14159265: have you ever actually made yourself breakfast at home? while i don’t have kids, i have no problem making myself a fried egg and toast, as well as packing a lunch, in a total of about 10 minutes. if you made instant oatmeal, i’m sure you could cut that down to about 7 or 8 minutes

        • floraposte says:

          @nataku83: We’ve got boiling water at work, so I just eat my instant oatmeal there. And knowing that breakfast is waiting gets me out of the house pretty quickly, too.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @nataku83: I do make breakfast at home. But I don’t make it and take it with me cause I use public transportation and get mean looks from the bus driver… so I either don’t have breakfast or carry something that isn’t “wet” like eggs (ever have eggs spill into a purse or messenger bag? Not pretty). But my point is, there are some people who don’t, or choose not to. So reaming on these people for being foolish isn’t necessarily justified because everyone lives differently.

          • nataku8_e30 says:

            @pecan 3.14159265: Well, I’d still think that when you wait in line, pay, and wait for your food to come up, you’re still taking longer than if you just ate it at home. I take about another 5-10 minutes to eat at home, but I could pretty easily change my egg and toast to egg on a bagel, wrap it in aluminum foil and take it with me if I like. I guess if you’re someone who NEVER buys groceries, then adding that time in would make it not make sense, but other than that, I really can’t imagine any circumstances in which eating at home would actually take more time than waiting to purchase food at a restaurant. I really just think it comes down to laziness, or the misconception that it takes a long time to cook anything. Hell, I’ve seen toasters with built in egg poachers, how much easier can it get??

            • pecan 3.14159265 says:

              @nataku83: Yes, it does overall take longer BUT it’s a fact that some people would rather do it anyway. I personally don’t go to Starbucks unless I have no way to get my mid-afternoon coffee fix. Like if our machine at work was broken and I was practically falling asleep as I walked. But for some people, eating breakfast somewhere else is something they have to do once in a while. Isn’t it just good consumerism to know who has good deals and who has bad ones?

            • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

              @nataku83: “Well, I’d still think that when you wait in line, pay, and wait for your food to come up, you’re still taking longer than if you just ate it at home.”

              Sure, but if you have to be 8 counties away at 7:30 a.m. for a client meeting, and you have some toast before you leave the house for the two-hour drive, chances are you’re going to be hungry again when the meeting is over (and disinclined to get up extra-early to make take-along food) and 8:30 a.m. is just too early for lunch food. That’s when fast food breakfast, Starbucks or otherwise, starts to look real good — regardless of waiting in line, of price, of whatever.

              And maybe you HAVE to leave the house right this instant to get your train downtown to work, but you can stop on your way from the train station to the work building once you get into the city. Or maybe you just weren’t organized when you left the house. Or maybe you’re spending the first two hours of every day throwing up and you don’t want any food until after 9, not even to deal with preparing it.

        • Jeremy Wentworth says:

          @nataku83:

          “while i don’t have kids”

          This is why you are able to make breakfast for yourself @ home and pack a lunch. Once kids enter into the equation things like making breakfast and packing lunches start becoming harder. Lunches get packed before bed and breakfasts are much more likely to require more unwrapping than cooking. The starbucks thing sounds like a fairly inexpensive luxury if you can budget it in occasionally.

          • matt1978 says:

            @Jeremy Wentworth: Finally, someone who I can relate to. Everything’s easier when you’re in only in charge of yourself.

          • ArcanaJ says:

            @Jeremy Wentworth: You are the voice of reason, sir, thank you.

            The tut-tutting tone of some of these comments bewilders me. Being broke (or busy) is not a moral failing. An occasional budget luxury shouldn’t be as one either.

        • MoreFunThanToast says:

          @nataku83: All it really comes down to is that Starbucks is offering an option, an improvement from their previous pricier menu items. For those who do frequent the chain, it’s a bonus. You don’t have to go, but it is there if you want to.

          I do make breakfast at home, but not everyday. Some tired days I don’t want to make breakfast and wash dishes and pots. It’s always nice to have an option.

    • aedude01 says:

      @N.RobertMoses:

      THIS!
      Even shopping at an expensive grocer like Whole Foods (aka Whole PayCheck),

      A dozen eggs is around $3
      A pound of fair-trade coffee is around $10
      Oatmeal $3 a box (10 packets)

      If you figure 2 eggs a day for breakfast that’s 6 breakfasts, Oatmeal is another 10, and the coffee will last you around a month if you’re the only one that drinks it.

      Grand total:
      1lb of coffee = 30 cups = $.33 cents a cup of joe in the am
      12 eggs = 6 breakfasts = $.50 an egg serving (add $.10 for cheese)
      1 box oatmeal = 10 breakfasts = $.30 a serving

      So even if you have all 3 EVERY MORNING for breakfast, you’re only looking at a cost of around $1.23.

      In a month that’s $36.90 for breakfast, compared to $118.50 for the same meal at Starbucks per month(30 days).

      You save ~ $81.60 by eating at home.

      WOW.

      (I haven’t done that much math since my taxes last year!)

      • nataku8_e30 says:

        @aedude01: Wow, you must live somewhere where groceries are expensive, that’s a lot more than I pay for eggs and coffee, and I generally buy oatmeal in a big container, so not sure what the comparison is.

        • aedude01 says:

          @nataku83:

          I live in the DC area, and I may have inflated the price on eggs a bit…. it might be closer to $2.50, but I figured I’d round up to be safe. I also tend to buy Oatmeal in the individual packets so that if I’m late I can throw one of them in my bag and still eat breakfast.

          The way I look a it, it’s always better to overestimate on price, and then be pleasantly surprised when you have money left over. Than to underestimate, and be screwed.

          @nataku83: I completely agree. Eggs take 2 mins to microwave tops, and they taste the same as if you scrambled em in the skillet. (Plus you have one less dish to do!)

      • edwardso says:

        @aedude01: Most people who purchase breakfast don’t do so 30 days per month. Of course it’s cheaper to eat at home, but on some days it’s easier to buy breakfast (or lunch or dinner) I don’t eat out to save money, or to get better food. I eat out because time is limited and sometimes I don’t want to do the damn dishes when I get home

      • dako81 says:

        @aedude01: You can probably have the oatmeal cheaper if you don’t buy the packets, and get the big container of it.

        • Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

          @dako81: If you get the “snack sized” ziploc-type bags, they fit about the same amount of oatmeal as the packets. We buy a big canister and my husband portions it out into the little bags and stores them in his desk at work with a mug or microwavey bowl to get the same effect as the packets. (You can also put in raisins/other dried fruit and it keeps, and I got him a cinnamon-sugar shaker for work.)

      • Snarkysnake says:

        @aedude01:

        Taking that one small step further…

        If you save $81 a month eating at home and you spend 10 minutes a day making breakfast for 22 days,thats 220 minutes making breakfast divided into $81,which means you “make” over 21 bucks an hour slingin’ hash. Congratulations ! You make a LOT more than a Starbucks employee makes,doing the same job. (And you don’t have to swallow the corporate bullshit that flows from the ‘Bucks)

      • joel. says:

        @aedude01: But a cup of coffee and a cup of espresso w/milk isn’t the same thing. So we need to add in the initial cost of an espresso maker to make this work. Which is pretty much that $81.60 – and then some if you want a decent quality espresso machine.

        • pecan 3.14159265 says:

          @joel.: And that’s why I continue to purchase espresso from a coffee shop. I’m not spending $120 on an espresso machine.

      • Sodypop says:

        @aedude01: You forgot:
        Bread
        Butter
        Salt
        Pepper
        Hot souce
        Sugar
        Cream
        Milk
        Cinnamon
        Raisins

        You just don’t eat eggs, you have to season them. Many people like sugar and cream in their coffee. Also, Oatmeal with just water is not the best tasting thing.

        • aedude01 says:

          @Sodypop: Food is much healthier without all those things (except the milk, bread, raisins and cinnamon thing); like saving money, sugar/fat infused foods add up :)

          /Just ask Rosie!

      • akhil1980 says:

        @aedude01:

        1. Nobody eats EVERY SINGLE DAY at Starbucks.
        2. You didn’t factor in the gas/electricity used in making the breakfast meal (minor expense though)
        3. And lastly…how do you factor in the TIME you don’t have to cook your meal in the morning ? What if you are getting late for work? Are you better off being 15-20 mins late for work or do you spend that $3.95 and be on time.

        That will vary from person to person.

      • ohwevad says:

        @aedude01:
        Going by your coffee math (1 lb of coffee = 30 cups = 30 days of coffee) — are you saying you’d make single cup pots? Or a weekly pot of coffee?

        Either way, if your taste buds are that dormant, you probably do spend a small fraction of what most of us spend.

    • ryatziv says:

      @N.RobertMoses: Yes, yes, and you could kill your own cows, but you go to the store to get your meat.

    • nakedscience says:

      @N.RobertMoses: What if you’re in a hurry? What if your alarm didn’t go off? What if you have to be in early one day? What if you have a busy morning trying to get the kids to school and just want to have some farkin’ oatmeal?

      I used to take public transportation. It took me an HOUR AND A HALF one way to get to work. One way. I didn’t have TIME to make myself breakfast every morning, not when I had to leave at 5am to get to work by 7am. For me, it was cheaper and easier to stop off somewhere on the way (Wataburger or Starbucks, depending on my mood, as both were on the way), and because I had about a 15-25 minute wait between my first and second bus, which left me plenty of time to grab a quick breakfast and eat while waiting. I usually brought my own lunch.

      Now that I have a car (that commute killed me!) I eat at work when I get in, usually a bagel or a lean pocket, but sometimes it’s nice to stop and grab a coffee and an oatmeal quickly as a treat.

    • ScottRose says:

      @N.RobertMoses:

      It doesn’t sound like much of a value.

      They use the word “value” precisely because it’s a completely subjective term. It’s one of the reasons why chains don’t use words like “cheap” or “inexpensive”. (The other, of course, being the negative connotations from words like “cheap”).

      Let’s take me for example: I’m very lazy and I’m loathe to do anything in the morning except the bare minimum to get my ass to work. $4 for breakfast is a great value for me, considering it arrives in my hands ready-to-eat, in dishes that I don’t have to clean.

      So the value clearly isn’t there for you, but because it’s a subjective term, you can’t say it isn’t there at all..

      (In fairness, I never eat breakfast, but I wake up at 10:30 and eat lunch at 12:30. So it’s like breakfast).

    • WBrink says:

      @N.RobertMoses: Just posting to say that I hate when people make the very obvious statement of “IF YOU PAY FOR RAW GOODS AND COMPLETE THE LABOR YOURSELF, YOU CAN SAVE MONEY!”

      In other news, cats are cute. Grass is green. More news at 11.

  2. Eyebrows McGee (now with double the baby!) says:

    As long as I can get some Two-Buck Chuck for $2.95, Starbucks Coffee is overprice. And I like the one mind-altering legal substance better than the other.

  3. Trai_Dep says:

    If only I could figure out how to grow coffee beans on my window planter and squeeze a cow into my flat. Then my breakfast would cost pennies – pennies!

  4. full.tang.halo says:

    it’s a big tube of instant oatmeal like 2-3 bucks? I dont really drink coffee but a quick google and you can get a tin of coffee for 10 bucks that makes 160 8 oz cups, so yea, great deal there Sbux…

  5. peachplum says:

    Now hold on… they are not trying to be cheaper than home foraging.
    You’re still getting a prepared, quality product and the ambiance of a coffeeshop, should you choose to stay. Let us reason together.

    • nakedscience says:

      @peachplum: I don’t think people here can reason very well.

    • Boulderite says:

      @peachplum:

      I agree. And we all know it is cheaper to brew at home and make breakfast at home. It amazes me how many people make those comments each time a story like this comes out. You want to say “No sh!t” to them every time. $3.95 is a good price for breakfast on the go. I grabbed a sausage biscuit and orange juice from McDonalds the other day and it was almost $5

      If you don’t want it, don’t get it.

  6. techgoddess: Only .002 cents per byte says:

    I don’t like the breakfast items, but as long as Starbucks doesn’t get rid of the wonderful apple chai tea I’m fine.

  7. SJActress says:

    Starbucks offers nothing but sweet, bready type things. With the exception of the eggs, I can’t eat anything they offer.

    By the way, I believe it’s more accurate to say, “Does the Pope @#$% in the Vatican?”

  8. Birki says:

    They might run into problems when people ask to substitute or modify the drinks. I’ve heard baristas on another blog anticipating that and they aren’t supposed to make substitutions.

    I’m also glad to hear Starbucks will be focusing less on fancy drinks and more on plain coffee but I thought this “back to basics” initiative was supposed to have begun awhile ago.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      @Birki: I think the coffee they offer as part of the deal is drip coffee so there’s not really any room for substitution. Regular or decaf…you could pay extra to get a syrup put in, but that’s about it.

  9. Chris Stone says:

    Not only is Starbucks ridiculously overpriced, but I can’t stand the taste either. The only time I actually tried it was on Election Day, because they gave it out for free for voters. You could tell it was made from burnt coffee beans.
    So really, they can go ahead and lower the prices, but I still will never have another cup of “coffee” there again.

  10. kairi2 says:

    egg sandwich, oatmeal, or coffee cake? they had a chance to appeal to a wider demographic but they blew it. these are gunna be the same people that want danishes and scones.

  11. mbz32190 says:

    I don’t care for Starbucks, but compared to other fast restaurant breakfast offerings, it doesn’t seem like that bad of a deal. Sure you can make breakfast cheaper yourself. You can make hamburgers yourself cheaper than McDonald’s if you want…same idea.

  12. Binja-man says:

    I used to go to starbucks and spend 2 bucks for a drip coffee like a sucker. Then we started ordering better coffee in the office. Now I keep cereal and a half-gallon of milk in the office. Every morning I have my coffee and cereal for breakfast at my desk while I read consumerist and avoid real work.

  13. Kevin Vesga says:

    I heard Starbucks is going to change its name. The new name will be Fourbucks.

    http://www.instantrimshot.com

    • BillyDee_CT says:

      @Kevin Vesga:

      Of if you’ve ever listened to syndicated computer guru Kim Komando she calls them ten-bucks!

      At least to me their coffee tastes like is was brewed in a radiator of an Edsel. I’ll stick to Dunkin Donuts on the days I don’t brew a fresh cup in the office.

  14. h3llc4t, breaker of office dress codes says:

    Every time I’ve tried Starbucks’ food I’ve been sorely disappointed. ($3 for a stale brownie that I need to slug down my coffee just to swallow? Uh, no thanks.) I don’t *mind* the coffee per se, but it’s not worth making the extra trip. I hope the quality of their breakfast goods improves alongside the development of the deal.
    I’m so lucky that we have an awesome cafe in my office. A small (machine) cappuccino, English muffin with sausage patty and cheese, $1.89.

  15. JosephFinn says:

    Huh. That’s the Starbucks just down the block from me here in Chicago.

  16. nakedscience says:

    Starbucks has AWESOME iced tea. It’s really the only thing I drink from there. It’s strong. And fairly cheap (under $2 for a big one). I used to live on that stuff when I took public transportation.

  17. ScottRose says:

    and instead focus on brewed and iced coffee.

    Ah, the thing they do worst!

    Excellent plan boys!

    To the unemployment office!

  18. joebobfunguy says:

    I was kinda sad when starbucks layed(laid?) a bunch of people off, but I still get a pound of coffee a week markout. Anyway, the new breakfast sandwiches aren’t as good as the old ones, and you can get either.

  19. sumgai says:

    Now, is there a specific way I am supposed to order a small coffee cake? Like….I’ll have a tall, no end piece, extra warm, coffee cake, no icing?

  20. rhys1882 says:

    Starbucks is not overpriced. They charge about the same as every coffee shop I’ve ever been in, and I’ve been in a lot. Specialty espresso drinks, black coffee, coffee beans, all of it costs about the same as at any other coffee shop. The fact is they just have a lot of more specialty drinks then most places.

    • ScottRose says:

      @rhys1882:

      I agree.

      And I’d also like to point out that SB was never* overpriced. As long as people are willing to pay the price, it is priced correctly.

      *OK, arguably they may be overpriced when it comes to luxury fancy-drinks in this economy.

    • Colage says:

      @rhys1882: Yeah, after 15 years of hearing “Starbucks costs too much!” it gets a little old.

      I think the issue is that people look at, say, a large White Chocolate Mocha which costs something like $4.25 and complain about what “coffee” costs. But when you compare apples to apples, it works out about average: Around my house, a 20oz drip coffee costs $1.85 at 7-Eleven, $2.05 at McDonald’s, and $1.95 at Starbucks.

  21. ahoy-captain says:

    sumgai: win.

  22. chiieddy says:

    It’s a $.20 savings over the normal cost for the same items.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I was in there this morning and this promotion had me waiting for 5 minutes while a couple in front of me and their cashier painfully tried to order within the limitations of the combo. They ended up just ordering their drink/sandwich a la carte because you couldn’t have a latte if you order a sandwich that had ham or some nonsense!

  24. marsneedsrabbits says:

    So, what’s the over/under on when they’ll introduce their mascot mascot, Bucky, and his mischievous pup companion, Stars?

    You’ll find them on everything from lunch boxes to tee shirts to the inevitable kids meal.

    No doubt coming soon to a Starbucks near you.

  25. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Have we tested the Starbucks oatmeal against regular instant oatmeal? Specifically its cat-attracting properties?

  26. SacraBos says:

    But are Bears Catholic?

  27. DogInYellowCoat says:

    Anyone know where I can get a newspaper around that Starbucks?

  28. du2vye says:

    They are about the ONLY place that serves coffee around here. The line in the drive through is constantly 8 cars long or more at any time of the day. I don’t know why other places don’t get a clue and start serving coffee regularly.

  29. Margaret Powell says:

    A latte and a sandwich for 4 bucks would be a deal. A grande drip coffee and a sandwich for 4 dollars is sort of the price it should be—1.50 for the coffee and 2.50 for the sandwich.

    It’s even less of a “deal” if you are getting a piece of coffee cake.

  30. Scott Burck says:

    I hereby demand a review of the items by the esteemed Cpt. Duvel Moneycat. (Please?)

  31. fatcop says:

    Will breakfast be burnt as well?

  32. Southern says:

    You’ve always been able to get a (Venti) “cup of coffee” at Starbucks for $1.50-$1.75 or so, but that’s just plain coffee, not any of their “Specialty” coffees (like mochas, cappichinos, etc.) Now if they’d let me get one of THOSE with a breakfast sandwich, I’d probably be all over it. :)

    As it is, I can get a sausage biscuit & a hashbrown for $1, then another $1.50 for a large McDonalds coffee if I wanted to go that route — but since I have free coffee at work, I usually just get the biscuit & hashbrown.. although sometimes I splurge on the vanilla iced coffee. :)

    Sorry though Starbucks, you’re still too overpriced for my taste, especially considering I can get a “To Go” breakfast at Denny’s or Waffle House or whatever for only $1.00 or $2.00 more — although that’s usually too much food for me for breakfast.