Starbucks Gives Permission For Miami Bakery To Serve Coffee Again

Image courtesy of Trish P.

Even though some city streets have multiple Starbucks on the same block, the coffee colossus doesn’t like it when someone other than Starbucks serves up hot caffeinated beverages nearby.  After three years of battling Starbucks, a Miami bakery has finally earned the right to serve something other than drip coffee to its customers.

Miami-based Pinecrest Bakery began serving up Cuban-style cups of caffeine on Friday after coming to a truce with Starbucks, the Miami Herald reports.

Issues for the bakery began back in 2013, when the owners, who operate several other bakeries in South Florida, decided to open a location in a shopping center that also housed a Starbucks.

Under the terms of the lease, the company agreed that its coffee sales would not exceed 10% of their gross sales, as Starbucks had the exclusive coffee rights to the center.

The owners say that months later, the center’s landlord asked them to sign a lease amendment prohibiting them from selling anything but drip coffee, also known as coffee in a pot.

Feeling they had no other choice, except to close down, the couple signed the amendment.

“We chose to stay and fight,” the owners tell the Miami Herald, noting that they took the case to court and lost in 2014. “There was nothing we could do at that point.”

Months later, the shopping center was sold, and the owners saw an opportunity to begin selling their Cuban cafecito again.

The owners say business was going well until Tuesday when Starbucks attorneys threatened to file a lawsuit against the bakery.

Pinecrest removed their coffee machines, much to the ire of customers, who expressed their displeasure on social media by posting thousands of negative reviews against Starbucks.

Following an online campaign to get its right backs, the bakery owners say that things came to a resolution late this week when the shopping center’s landlord proposed the shop go back to the original 10% agreement.

This Starbucks incident reminds of a 2014 dispute between McDonald’s and a small Maryland mall. McDonald’s sued the mall’s owners, claiming they violated the burger chain’s contract by also leasing space to a Dunkin’ Donuts. McD’s argument was that the two chains had “substantially similar” menus, though any overlap was in the breakfast lineup. That lawsuit was dropped two months later, and it appears that the there is no longer a Dunkin’ at that strip mall.

The Miami truce is just the latest high-profile spat between a national coffee chain and a smaller local shop. Last week, Caribou Coffee won an infringement case that resulted in a Michigan coffee shop called Blue Caribou Cafe being forced to change its name by July.

More famous is Starbucks’ years-long (and ultimately failed) battle against the New Hampshire coffee roaster who dared to parody the bigger company by selling a Charbucks brand roast.

Lease prohibited Cuban bakery from selling anything but American-style drip coffee [Miami Herald]