Starbucks Corporation has announced a pivotal new role as global licensee and investor in the Italian restaurant Princi, a boutique bakery and café founded by acclaimed artisan baker Rocco Princi in 1986. The investment team, which includes Milan-based Angel Lab and Pekepan Investments, will focus on expanding the number of standalone Princi locations worldwide, in addition to making Princi the exclusive food purveyor at the new Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Rooms in Shanghai and New York. The New York Roastery will open in 2018.

“We have never baked in our stores in 45 years. But all of that will change with the creation of this unique partnership,” says Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and chief executive office. “Rocco and his team at Princi possess a passion for handcrafted food and artisanal baked goods that mirrors how I feel about our coffee.”

Since the acquisition of La Boulange in 2012, Starbucks reinvented its food portfolio at more than 14,000 stores in the United States and Canada, and will continue to bring customers authentic French homemade specialties, delivering culinary artistry on a grand scale.

In addition to the expansion of standalone Princi specialty stores and inclusion of fresh baking in Starbucks Roasteries, the company will partner with Rocco Princi to bring a premium food experience to its new Reserve only stores starting in 2017. Currently, Starbucks offers Reserve coffee in nearly 2,000 locations in 30 countries.  

Announced earlier this year, the Roastery concept brings to life Starbucks line of premium, small-lot reserve coffees in a retail space that allows the roasting, brewing and craft of coffee to take center stage.

“I can think of no better pairing for our most premium coffee experience and am excited by the possibilities we envision in Princi food elevating every daypart – breakfast, lunch, and dinner – in Starbucks Roasteries and Reserve Stores,” Schultz adds. “The attention to detail, the care invested in selecting the ingredients and the artistry of preparation is second only to the service Rocco offers customers inside his Princi stores.”

Known for its artisan breads created from traditional family recipes, Princi’s five locations have become beloved experiences for customers across Milan and London.

Every detail is considered in a Princi store, ranging from the minimalist aesthetic designed by architect Claudio Silvestrin to the uniforms created by a renowned Italian designer. In addition, Princi locations are well-known as 24-hour operations, offering customers everything from light breakfast to impressive dinners made in a beechwood fired oven. 

“As a young man, I dreamed of the opportunity to bring traditional Italian baking to customers in my country but when I opened our location in London, I realized how much we could also offer an international clientele,” says Rocco Princi, founder of Princi Restaurant. “I have long admired Starbucks, the values Howard has imbedded into his organization and we are honored to be a part of bringing to life an entirely new retail environment with the Roasteries.”