This May Be Why Starbucks Put A Grilled Cheese On Its Menu

Starbucks is undoubtedly the world's most renowned coffee chain. But while the globally beloved company even managed to capture the hearts of coffee-adoring Italians with its delicious brews, frappuccinos and pumpkin spice lattes aren't the only thing the cafe has going for it. While the chain is known for its coffee-slinging capabilities, its food menu also wracks in a pretty penny. In fact, Statista reports that Starbucks made a whopping $5.05 billion from its food selection in 2021.

Although Starbucks' food menu includes usual coffee shop favorites like butter croissants as well as more unique sweets like its iconic cake pops, it also features a somewhat unconventional foodie favorite. After all, while you may find a tomato sandwich on most coffee shops' menus, grilled cheese is something you're more likely to order at a mom-and-pop diner. And yet, if a cheesy craving hits you while you snag a grande cold brew at Starbucks, you can also add a crispy grilled cheese on sourdough to your order.

However, while this grilled cheese creation has become a beloved, though unconventional, part of the coffee shops' menu since it debuted in 2014 (per The Chicago Tribune), we have reason to believe that the world's most profitable coffee chain didn't put this delicious grab and go lunch on its menu on a whim. Here's why this cheesy lunchtime addition may have been a strategic business move.

The king of breakfast may have hoped grilled cheese would help it take over lunch

Starbucks is a popular breakfast stop for any occasion. However, according to USA Today, the coffee chain is hungry to get into another mealtime market — lunch. In 2017, a Starbucks official told the outlet that the chain saw "lunch as the biggest opportunity." And The Chicago Tribune reported that 3 years earlier, Starbucks more than likely added crispy grilled cheese on sourdough to its menu for this very reason.

The same site stated that the NPD Group Inc. found that nearly two-thirds of coffee shops' sales are attributed to morning-time foot traffic. After the morning hours, these businesses' profits steadily decrease as it gets later in the day. That being said, it seems like Starbucks hoped that its new crispy grilled cheese would entice a larger lunch crowd to its doorstep.

And since its debut, the dish, which is a protein-packed take on a classic grilled cheese recipe, has indeed become a hit among the workday lunch crowd. Of course, many people like Life Style of Foodie love the sandwich so much that they've created copycat versions of the recipe. But even TikTok influencer and Food Network star Lavelle has taken to Instagram to sing his praises for Starbucks' grilled cheese.

So it seems no matter what Starbuck's true intention was when it launched its grilled cheese, the sandwich has indeed helped boost its reputation as a quick lunch spot.