Starbucks reconsiders breakfast sandwiches

SEATTLE Starbucks Corp. has tweaked the recipes of its hot breakfast sandwiches to improve their quality and minimize their scent, but company officials would not say whether the menu items would be eliminated entirely when new food offerings are launched this fall.

Earlier this year, the breakfast sandwiches had been targeted for a phase-out. Howard Schultz, chairman and chief executive of the coffeehouse giant, had said at the time that the smell of the sandwiches being warmed was stronger than the brand-defining scent of coffee.

However, Starbucks officials said on Monday that the company had tinkered with the recipe, such as the type of cheese used and the amount of butter in the eggs, to improve the sandwiches. Breakfast sandwiches account for about 3 percent of store revenue in the roughly 4,000 locations where they are sold. Starbucks operates or licenses about 11,000 stores nationwide.

Starbucks introduced the breakfast sandwiches in 2006. The original line included such varieties as Black Forest ham with egg and cheddar; low-fat turkey bacon with cholesterol-free egg and low-fat cheddar; eggs Florentine with baby spinach and Havarti cheese; peppered bacon, egg and cheddar; and sausage, egg and cheddar.

Meanwhile, the company is continuing plans to “evolve” its menu offerings with the addition of more healthful breakfast foods in the fall. On July 15, Starbucks debuted the Berry Stella, a star-shaped, whole-grain pastry.

In recent weeks, Starbucks has introduced fruit-based smoothie drinks, called Vivannos. And in Southern California, the company is testing a yogurt-based drink called Sorbetto, which is modeled after sorbet-like beverages common in Italy.

Starbucks is scheduled to release its third quarter financial results on Wednesday.