Starbucks: Taking Over the World One Meal at a Time

By Hanna Aronovich in Food on Jun 2, 2006 4:21PM

It seems the corporate giants are battling it out in the new product zone. If McDonald’s is gonna get in on the premium coffee game, then Starbucks is gonna take on the breakfast sandwich game. But Starbucks says it's not trying to compete with the McMuffin, but rather keep up with the “Starbucks experience,” (whatever that is). starbucks.jpg

On Wednesday, Starbucks introduced five hot breakfast sandwiches to 126 select locations in Chicago. Offerings include sausage, egg and cheddar; eggs Florentine with spinach and havarti; black forest ham, egg and cheddar; reduced-fat turkey bacon, egg and white cheddar; and peppered bacon, egg and cheddar.

Already available in Seattle, San Francisco, Portland and Washington, D.C., Chicagoist checked it out for ourselves at the Starbucks on Michigan and Lake. At $2.95, the Starbucks sandwiches are close enough in price to the McMuffin. And, with ingredients like havarti, white cheddar and spinach, it seems a step up from a syrup-infused pancake with an “M” stamped in it. However, taste buds and timeliness rule the morning meal, so we wondered, “How do these things taste and how fast can we order one?”

Serving breakfast sandwiches all day, Starbucks claims it only takes 70 seconds to warm the one. But, with the prep time and waiting for a few more sandwich orders to come in (the machine warms four at a time), it took more like five minutes. 137766302_79028c8379_m.jpg

Although sacrificing some precious morning moments, our sandwich arrived warm and toasted. The muffin was soft, the havarti cheese flavorful and the spinach fresh. The egg was decent, but no better than the processed egg patty on any other sandwich.

Starbucks also plans to use the warming machine to heat up muffins and pastries for customers. Some baristas are none too thrilled. But, what could be naughtier than asking for a toasted muffin at 8 a.m.?

Double entendres aside, let us know what you think. Have you had the new sandwiches? And, how do you like your muffin toasted?

Image via gisarah