Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Starbucks hopes you’ll fall for its new autumn menu


hot-chocolate.jpgNeed a sweet treat after this week’s stock market stress?

A Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate, one three new “Signature” hot chocolate drinks introduced by Starbucks, could fit the bill. A tall, 12-ounce drink with whip cream packs a whopping 460 calories (with nonfat milk) — think of it as a¬†doughnut in a cup.

This week, Starbucks also introduced two hot Piadini sandwiches. One is veggie with portobello mushroom, spinach, feta, ricotta and egg. The carnivore version is made with mild cheddar, sausage and egg. 

piadini.jpgThe company, which has been tweaking its menu in a bid to turnaround a U.S. traffic slowdown, rolled out oatmeal and other relatively healthy breakfast items in early September. (That oatmeal tastes sweet!) Executives recently said that oatmeal was the chain’s single most popular food product launch to date.

Starbucks earlier this year reversed plans to remove hot sandwiches from restaurants and reformulated them to be less smelly (Chief Executive Howard Schultz said they interfered with the aroma of coffee). It has since reiterated plans to eventually have ovens in up to 95 percent of company-owned U.S. stores.