Mar 102009

I’m not sure what took so long, but for the first time I can remember Starbucks has started to bundle coffee with its pastries into one package price. At least in my neighborhood, the options are very limited (I’m assuming this is a soft launch and the company is testing the market and will have more variety and price points if proven successful), but I still find the “tall latte and choice of oatmeal or coffee cake for 3.95 (all day)” too limiting and a bit arbitrary.

I’m guessing scones and muffins are the most popular pastries, and so the rationale is likely “We don’t have a problem getting full price for our ‘bread and butter’ products, so let’s continue to sell those as standalone items and instead start with those that are struggling and need some awareness and trial.” A slow, cautious approach makes sense – move too quickly, and the company could very easily cannibalize sales if higher volume associated with bundling doesn’t more than offset the lower margins of doing so.

I’ll assume Starbucks has mined the data and crunched the numbers, as the register receipts have all the information necessary to formulate a smart strategy. That said, I cannot help but feel the current pairings menu is too narrow to draw actionable conclusions for a more widespread rollout in the near future.