In this fast-paced market, it's crucial for restaurants to be aware of the market and to keep evolving. Starbucks is no exception. In response to the whimsical social media frenzy of April 2017, they created the Unicorn Frappuccino, a drink met with both excitement and disgruntlement. Then in June 2017, Starbucks rolled out more trendy drinks of this nature, leaving fans to wonder if the brand was more concerned about the Instagram value than the taste.

Despite these choices, Starbucks *has* been listening to more practical demands of their customers. Since April 11th, they have been testing out an expanded food menu in Chicago locations. 

While their past food options have been prepared and packaged off site before reaching stores and have lacked options for dietary restrictions, Starbucks has made significant changes to their selection. The new line, "Mercato", is made fresh by employees in stores and includes vegan and gluten free options. 

The name comes from the Italian word for "market" and seems to play off of the other Italian words Starbucks has (correctly and incorrectly) used

With a recent announcement that Mercato will be rolled out to stores across the US this year, it's time to study up on some of the delicious options:


This vegan option is sure to impress anyone – the sprouted grain vegan bagel is paired with an organic avocado spread.


This gluten free bacon and egg sandwich would be good any time of day, tbh. 


Is loving bacon a dietary restriction? No, but Starbucks will be including several high-protein options on their menu. 

Not only do these options offer up another healthy option in the realm of fast food (on or off campus), they offer a way to get food AND caffeine from the same location. Gone are the days of a) going to Starbucks and another fast food place to be satisfied or b) getting caffeine but going hungry. What a time saving strategy!

This new line may not be all sunshine and rainbows like the Unicorn Frappuccino, however. Might it make lines longer and slower? If the Mercato menu must be prepared fresh by employees, who's to say that this won't affect the wait time at beloved Starbucks? The brand may have to look into additionally training, time saving techniques or other changes to combat this potential problem. 

Up until this point, over 80% of Starbucks' revenue has (not surprisingly) come from non-food items. With this change, they hope to see this ratio – and their positioning – change. Starbucks is the first of its market segment to become a place for lunch in addition to coffee and drinks. While others are sure to follow, Starbucks is on top of their game right now and will be the market leader of any further developments. 

Although the strategic economics and market positioning of Starbucks is nothing to ignore, the true importance of this change for college students is clear: caffeine and food can now be found in the same place.