business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

Newsweek reports on how Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said this week in an investor presentation that “health and wellness” trends have caused “a 3 percent dip in sales of Frappuccinos, beverages that often contain the most sugar and calories of any drink on the menu.”

“These are oftentimes more indulgent beverages,” Johnson said.

To combat the loss, Starbucks reportedly “will develop lower-sugar drinks to hopefully revive growth. Some of its healthiest and most popular drinks are its teas and brewed coffees.”

This sounds suspiciously like when companies blame the weather for lousy numbers. Isn’t it sort of your job to figure out how to manage around those kinds of things? Plus, healthy trends aren’t exactly like the weather; the latter can turn on a dime and be completely unexpected , but healthy eating trends have been developing for a long time. This is just excuses…

• The New York Times reports that Chipotle, anxious to restore its competitive luster, “will add five new menu items — quesadillas, nachos, chocolate milkshakes, avocado tostadas and an updated salad — at its test kitchen in New York City, for eventual rollout nationwide.”

But this is harder to do than one might expect, since Chipotle always has had a specific, burrito-centric menu. Now, “new grills must be purchased. The assembly line must be re-choreographed. When those quesadillas finally hit the market, Chipotle simply must get them right.”

According to the story, “Chipotle’s chief executive, Brian Niccol, acknowledged that a snack easily mastered by the average hungry tween becomes trickier on a nationwide scale. ‘We’re not built right now to make a great quesadilla,’ he said. ‘The worst-case scenario is the person in front of you orders a quesadilla’.”
KC's View: