Failure Case Study: Starbucks La Boulange – the Risks of Buying into the Artisanal Marketplace

Failure Case Study: Starbucks La Boulange – the Risks of Buying into the Artisanal Marketplace


Brand guardians can significantly benefit from developing an in-depth understanding of the reasons for the success or failure of new product launches or marketing campaigns. This study explores why Starbucks closed the San-Francisco-based artisanal bakery and café chain La Boulange only three years after its acquisition. It examines the strategic challenges faced and what lessons can be learned.


Use Canadean Consumer's selection of successful and failed product launches and marketing campaigns from across the globe to inspire innovation.

Reduce the risk of failure by learning from brands/products that have under-performed: failed innovation can severely impact profit and reputation.

Understand the relevant consumer trends and attitudes that drive and support innovation success.

Obtain a broader appreciation of the fast-moving consumer goods industry by gaining insights from both within and outside of your sector.

Reasons To Buy

Why is Starbucks La Boulange considered an interesting case of failure?

What consumer insight underpins the failure of Starbucks La Boulange?

Which consumer trends has Starbucks failed to capitalize on?

What can I learn from La Boulange's failure to provide a sustainable business model within Starbucks' wider business?

Key Highlights

The decision to close La Boulange may make sense, as may the leveraging of the brand via Starbucks' normal store chain. However, buying in intellectual property like recipes and a brand name may not actually be a magic bullet to gain brand credibility and more favor among consumers. In fact, it may alienate them further.

Consumers increasingly want and support artisanal, locally produced items. Major businesses have latched onto this interest, inspiring ongoing acquisitions to buy into the zeitgeist. However, this raises consumer cynicism about the motivations of corporate actors, and the likely impact upon the acquired businesses.

Please Note: Due to the brevity and/or nature of the content posted, there is no table of contents available for this report.

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