Posts tagged with "Starbucks"

Starbucks says it’s launching boba-inspired drinks this summer

May 2, 2024

Starbucks is set to roll out its own version of boba at its stores this summer—more than two years after it first confirmed that it was testing drinks with pearls, reports Business Insider.

“For summer, we are launching our first texture innovation, pearls,” CEO Laxman Narasimhan told analysts at the company’s earnings call on Tuesday, April 30. “This is the first of more texture-based innovations that our customers can expect in the coming years.”

The drink will be rolled out during the week starting May 6 as part of Starbucks’ summer menu, he said.

Some TikTok users who appear to be Starbucks baristas have created videos of themselves making what they say are summer berry-flavored Refreshers from the coffee chain’s upcoming range. Some of the drinks are served with raspberry-popping pearls.

Another video appeared to show a barista making an iced matcha with the pearls.

In December 2021, Starbucks confirmed to Business Insider that it was conducting a limited test of two beverages “made with coffee pearls” at two stores. A viral TikTokposted at the time appeared to show drinks called Iced Chai Tea Latte with Coffee Pearls and In the Dark on sale at a Starbucks in Palm Desert, California.

Boba, also known as bubble tea, is a Taiwanese drink typically made with milk, tea, and chewy tapioca pearls, which are created using starch from the roots of cassava plants. Sometimes, the chewy pearls are substituted for popping ones. It’s usually served cold.

Iced and cold drinks are a crucial part of Starbucks’ strategy: In the quarter to July 2023—the early part of the summer season —three-quarters of the drinks it sold were cold.

Starbucks has previously sold flavored iced oolong tea with flavored pearls in some Asian markets, including plum pearls.

Alongside boba, the coffee chain is rolling out a “new functional product, a zero-to-low-calorie handcrafted energy beverage” and more sugar-free customization options, Narasimhan said on Tuesday.

Product innovation like this helps to “elevate the brand” and boost sales, Narasimhan said. He noted that Starbucks’ range of lavender-infused drinks performed nearly as well in the quarter as the chain’s famous Pumpkin Spice Latte.

The drinks with popping pearls have been a long time coming. Starbucks wants to roll out new products more quickly: It’s working on halving its average product development cycle from the current 12-to-18 months, Narasimhan said

Research contact: @BusinessInsider

A Friendly Bread innovates grilled cheese for gourmet convenience

December 20, 2023

Before Kraft Heinz introduced its Lunchables Grilled Cheesies frozen sandwich in September 2023, the Baltimore-based startup, A Friendly Bread, offered an adult version of the concept that uses sourdough bread in March 2022. Lane Levine, founder of A Friendly Bread, wanted to offer consumers a convenient frozen product that would be perceived as a premium item, reports Food Business News.

“I originally began [this] as a fresh bread business in 2018 and started selling at farmers markets and doing bread delivery,” Levine said. “When we would be at farmers markets, customers would come up to me and show me photos of what they were doing with my sourdough product—turning them into gourmet foods.”

The ideas inspired Levine to begin experimenting with his bread and turn it into his grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilled cheese night dinners at a local apartment complex is where he developed flavors and learned how well the sourdough bread transformed into a grilled cheese sandwich.

“We brought premade ones (grilled cheese sandwiches) so it would be easier to heat them up at the event,” Mr. Levine said. “I also had them sitting at home in the fridge and friends would start heating them up and that’s the first time it hit me to make a packaged product that was scalable because you could preserve it through freezing or refrigeration and you could get a lot more value out of an individual loaf of bread.”

Since launching the frozen grilled cheese sandwiches in March 2022, Levine’s target audience has grown from work-from-home millennials to grandmothers enjoying the sandwiches with their grandchildren.

“Our initial target audience out the gate was the millennial who is busy all day in meetings, and they can take ten minutes to throw the sandwich in the toaster oven, sit back, work and it’s done,” he said. “But we also found that an even more devoted demographic is older women—specifically, [those] who are only cooking for one and don’t want to make a whole thing about it, but also want something comforting but high quality. It’s also the older ladies within the categories of grandmas getting them for their grandkids and sharing them.”

Levine said specialty retail has been the company’s sweet spot and the product has gained entry in Fresh Market, Giant Food, and The Giant Co., both owned by Ahold-Delhaize.

“We’re more concerned with growing recognition on a regional basis in the mid-Atlantic and the East Coast more broadly,” he said. “If we do launch with more conventional stores, as long as we’re able to do demos and build awareness, we’re willing to give it a try in our region.”

Levine also is giving direct-to-consumer a go, but said the business currently is mostly retail focused. “Online really isn’t our focus; it’s really hard to ship,” he said. “We started to see a few orders come (in for a) full case of grilled cheese (sandwiches), but logistically it’s just not our wheelhouse.”

The company also has identified demand on college campuses, convenience stores, and quick foodservice. “College campuses are perfect because, like Starbucks, you get the grilled cheese and they’ll heat it up for you in their TurboChef,” Levine said.

“So, at these college campus coffee shops they’re able to do the same thing with ours:  Throw it into a TurboChef; it takes 90 seconds and it’s done.”

Levine said they also are doing research to see if the product can be stored in refrigerated sections of stores and outlets. “We’re currently doing shelf-life testing with a lab right now; because, within the quick-service setting, it makes it that much more convenient to grab it out of the fridge, slap it in the oven, and it only takes 45 seconds instead of 90,” he said.

The company currently is self-manufacturing its products.

Research contact: FoodBizNews

Starbucks committed ‘egregious’ violations in battling union, judge rules

March 3, 2023

Starbucks committed “egregious and widespread” violations of federal labor law while trying to halt union campaigns, ruled a federal administrative law judge, who ordered the coffee giant to reopen closed stores and reimburse back pay and damages to employees who launched a nationwide organizing drive at the company, reports The Washington Post.

Starbucks showed “a general disregard for the employees’ fundamental rights,” Judge Michael A. Rosas wrote in a 220-page order released on Wednesday, March 1.

In resolving an extensive case that combined 33 unfair labor practices charges from 21 stores in the Buffalo area, Rosas held that the company retaliated against employees affiliated with Starbucks Workers United as they began a union drive in 2021. Since then, 268 of the roughly 9,000 company-owned U.S. stores have voted to unionize, and Starbucks’s interim Chief Executive Howard Schultz has drawn the ire of liberal political leaders.

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said Wednesday that he would force a vote to subpoena Schultz as part of a hearing about unionization efforts at Starbucks.

“To order a company to reopen stores that it’s closed should be embarrassing for Starbucks,” said Rebecca Givan, an associate professor of labor studies at Rutgers University.

Rosas’s order requires Starbucks to halt a sweeping list of behaviors that include:

  • Retaliating against employees for unionizing;
  • Promising improved pay and benefits, if workers renounced the union;
  • Surveilling union-supporting employees while on-site;
  • Refusing to hire prospective employees who back the union; and
  • Relocating union organizers to new stores to halt the group’s activity, while overstaffing stores ahead of union votes.

Starbucks, the judge said, must reopen stores it closed as union momentum swelled among workers, rescind dozens of disciplinary actions taken against Buffalo-area employees, pay “reasonable consequential damages,” and offer to reinstate terminated workers to their jobs.

Rosas’s order also calls for Schultz and Denise Nelson, the company’s senior vice president of U.S. operations, to read a 14-page notice that explains workers’ rights and how the company violated the law.

That same notice must be posted in each of the company’s stores, Rosas ruled, and shared digitally with employees. He also ordered Starbucks to begin negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with Buffalo-area workers.

The judge wrote that the company exhibited “widespread union animus” that colored supervisors’ decision-making, an accusation that Starbucks has repeatedly denied.

“When workers launched their organizing campaign in the summer of 2021, we never could have imagined the lengths Starbucks would go to try to stop employees from exercising their legal right to organize,” Gary Bonadonna Jr., manager of the Workers United Rochester regional joint board, said in a statement.

“This ruling proves what we have been saying all along: Starbucks is the poster child of union-busting in the United States. We are thrilled that the company is being held accountable for their actions and we will continue to fight until every Starbucks worker wins the right to organize.”

Starbucks spokesman Andrew Trull said the company believes the judge’s ruling and order are “inappropriate given the record in this matter.”

Starbucks is considering “all options to obtain further legal review,” Trull said.

The company said workers were terminated after violating company policies and not in retaliation for engaging in union activity. The judge did not accept that explanation.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Want that coffee with olive oil? Starbucks thinks Italians will go for it.

February 27, 2023

Italians have rules about coffee. Cappuccino, for instance, is a morning drink, so don’t try ordering it for an afternoon pick-me-up. In most cafes, coffee is consumed standing at the counter; and variations in orders are few, usually involving only the amount of water and/or milk to be added, reports The New York Times.

Still, Starbucks—which breaks all those rules with its long menu of options served at any time of day—opened in Italy here in 2018 and has amassed a serious following. On Wednesday, February 22, the company bet on Italy once more with a combination of two ingredients at the heart of this country’s food pyramid: coffee and olive oil.

The new beverages, branded Oleato, debuted this week at an invitation-only dinner (co-hosted with the National Chamber of Italian Fashion) at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Milan on Tuesday, the first day of Fashion Week. Lizzo performed. Vogue’s top editor in America, Anna Wintour, attended.

On Wednesday, Oleato, which can mean oiled, oleate or greaseproof in Italian (and which is now trademarked by Starbucks), was introduced to the masses at the company’s flagship Italian venue in downtown Milan. Five olive oil-infused beverages were on the menu, including the golden foam espresso martini, which concluded the dinner.

In an online introduction, Howard Schultz, a longtime leader at Starbucks, promoted the new coffee line as a “transformational idea”—his own—which came to him while he was traveling through Italy last summer. He called it, glowingly, “a unique alchemy of two of nature’s most transcendent ingredients.”

 “Italians have embraced Starbucks in a way that many did not see coming,” Schultz said in his introduction.

The steady line of customers waiting to be served at the Milan roastery on Tuesday suggested, at the very least, that adding olive oil to coffee may have generated some buzz. To be fair, people have been drinking coffee with butter for a while now.

Writing in La Stampa, the food critic Lorenzo Cresci gave the “Oleato golden foam cold brew” a vote of 6.5 out of 10 and said that, “overall, it can be appreciated.” He rated the caffè latte a 7, with “a strong flavor that leaves a pleasant taste in the mouth.” And he noted an orange flavor that dominated the Oleato iced cortado, giving it a 6.5.

Some olive oil producers are intrigued by the new horizons that could open from adding olive oil to coffee, “a very challenging innovation” that could relaunch olive oil’s image “especially among young people,” Anna Cane, president of the olive oil group of the Italian Association of the Edible Oil Industry, said in an email.

“On one hand, it’s good, because people are speaking about coffee. On the other, it takes away a slice of the market, because if you’re drinking that product, you’re not drinking espresso,” said Giorgio Caballini di Sassoferrato, the founder and president of a consortium that is trying to persuade UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, to recognize espresso as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Traditional Italian espresso, he says, is “a culture, a ritual, a social tradition. It’s not a product, it’s a system,” in which class and financial status don’t count. For the most part, “rich or poor, people drink espresso in bars.” It typically costs between around one euro or just above; Starbucks is considerably pricier.

Coffee with olive oil, on the other hand, left Caballini di Sassoferrato “a bit perplexed,” he said.
Research contact: @nytimes

Starbucks unveils ‘reinvention plan’

September 22, 2022

Starbucks outlined a reinvention plan on Tuesday, September 20, that includes expanding its loyalty program and speeding up operations at its cafes, in part with new coffee-making equipment and automation, reports CNBC.

On the call with analysts, outgoing Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said the coffee giant is projecting double-digit growth for revenue and earnings per share as it implements the new strategy.

The company is planning to build roughly 2,000 new U.S. stores between fiscal 2023 and 2025, accelerating its development strategy. By the end of fiscal 2025, it plans to have 45,000 locations worldwide.

The changes are intended to address how Starbucks’ business has transformed in recent years. Its menu has expanded, and cold coffee drinks that often include add-ons now account for 60% of orders year-round. Rather than going to the counter, more customers are going through the drive-thru or using its mobile app.

As business continues to morph and increase, in its fiscal 2023, Starbucks plans to invest roughly $450 million to upgrade its cafes with new equipment that will simplify operations and speed up service.

With its new cold beverage system, for example, baristas will no longer have to scoop ice, pour milk from a gallon jug, or bend down for whipped cream when making drinks. The new system uses dispensers and cuts down the time to create a Mocha Frappuccino from 86 seconds to 35 seconds. It’s been tested in a store, and a second test is planned for January after making improvements based on feedback.

Starbucks also is streamlining its process for making cold brew coffee, which is now a $1.2 billion business for the company. The current process requires more than 20 hours of brewing, with more than 20 steps. The new process automatically grinds and presses the coffee beans and reduces waste by 15%.

And instead of having baristas batch brew hot coffee every half hour, a machine that grinds and brews a single cup in 30 seconds will roll out next year. Even as cold drinks take over, the company sees 15 million customers every month who order brewed coffee.

Food preparation is also changing. Items like Starbucks’ premade sandwiches and egg bites will now be batch cooked and placed in packaging that retains humidity.

Automated ordering will roll out as well in U.S. stores in the next few years, according to Culver. The company said the shift toward automation is meant to give employees more time to interact with customers and relieve them of the more mundane parts of the job.

A quarter of Starbucks transactions now come from mobile app orders, driven by the company’s loyalty program. The U.S. version of by Starbucks Rewards had 27.4 million active members as of July 3, and they accounted for more than half of the company’s orders.

To keep growing its base of loyal customers, Starbucks has extended its loyalty program technology to licensed cafes, which include locations in airports and retailers like Barnes & Noble. Roughly 20% of its roughly 7,000 U.S. licensed stores are using the technology already.

Additionally, Starbucks will link its rewards program to outside loyalty programs, like those for airlines and retailers. Consumers will be able to earn “stars” by shopping elsewhere or turn their rewards points into airline miles.

Chief Marketing Officer Brady Brewer said the company will announce the first U.S.-based partnership in October.

This autumn also marks the start date for incoming CEO Laxman Narasimhan. He’ll join the company in October and learn more about its operations before officially taking the reins from Schultz in April.

Narasimhan made a brief, surprise appearance during the investor day, speaking about his upbringing, his love for writing poetry and what drew him to Starbucks. He told investors that he uses the name “Laks” when ordering coffee from Starbucks to avoid misspellings.

In addition to store operations, the changes are being calculated to “de-stress” harried baristas. Starbucks Chief Technology Officer Deb Hall Lefevre said the company is working on an app for baristas that will let them manage their schedules and pay, as well as foster two-way communication with the company and help with career growth.

The upcoming changes for U.S. baristas is just “phase one” of a multiyear plan, according to Starbucks management. The company also is looking to improve the experiences of baristas overseas—as well as for the employees who harvest its coffee beans, work in its supply chain, and provide customer support.

Research contact: @CNBC

Controversy: Starbucks fires union leaders In Memphis

February 10, 2022

Starbucks has fired several workers in Memphis, Tennessee, who were part of the growing unionization effort that’s spreading quickly throughout the coffee chain, reports HuffPost.

The campaign, Starbucks Workers Unitedsaid on February 8 on Twitter that the company had canned “virtually the entire union leadership in Memphis”—calling it a case of retaliation for their union support. The group said the total number of firings came to seven, or about one-third of the workers at the store.

“The arc of Starbucks’ union-busting is long, but it bends toward losing,” the campaign wrote.

Reggie Borges, a Starbucks spokesperson, said the company did not fire workers for organizing, but for violating safety and security protocols. He said workers opened the locked store after close of business without permission and let nonemployees in.

Several workers recently gave MWC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Memphis, an in-store interview about the union campaign.

Richard Bensinger, a longtime organizer involved in the Starbucks campaign, said on Twitter that the workers were fired “for talking to local TV reporters in their store!”

Borges said he wanted to make it “unequivocally clear” that the company didn’t fire the workers for talking to the media. “To suggest that is to completely ignore the clear violations of known policies that these partners openly acknowledged they were aware of as part of this investigation,” he said in an email.

But Nikki Taylor, a shift supervisor at the store, said in a statement through the union that she was “fired by Starbucks today for ‘policies’ that I’ve never heard of before.” She called the firing a “clear attempt by Starbucks to retaliate.”

The Starbucks workers have been organizing with the union Workers United, which plans to file unfair labor practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board over the firings. The union would argue that the workers were illegally targeted because of their union support.

In a statement, Starbucks Workers United called the firings the “most blatant act of union-busting yet.”

Research contact: @HuffPost

Starbucks scraps vaccine mandate

January 21, 2022

Employees at Starbucks—all 228,000 of them nationwide— are no longer required to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reports Fox Business.

Roughly a week after the Supreme Court reversed President’s Biden workplace vaccine mandate, the coffee chain is following suit, according to The Associated Press.

“We respect the Court’s ruling and will comply,” Starbucks Chief Operating Officer John Culver wrote in a memo to employees.

Still, the coffee chain is encouraging all workers to be vaccinated and boosted against the virus.  “I want to emphasize that we continue to believe strongly in the spirit and intent of the mandate,” Culver added. “Thank you to the more than 90% of partners who have already disclosed their vaccination status, and to the vast majority who are now fully vaccinated.”

Research contact: @Starbucks

Trump’s Goodyear boycott shows how political and social tensions can flare over workplace attire

August 21, 2020

On August 19, President Donald Trump urged Americans nationwide to boycott Akron, Ohio-based Goodyeartweeting, “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES – They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS.”

The tire company said there was no specific ban, but it had asked employees to refrain from some workplaces expressions that might inflame political and social discourse at work.  

And Goodyear is not the only American business that is trying to stop divisive debates in the workplace. Even as companies declare support for the Black Lives Matter movement, some are not allowing employees to wear masks or other attire that expresses solidarity with the cause, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Employees have pushed back against what they say is an attempt to silence them—staging protests at Whole Foods, denouncing Trader Joe’s on Twitter, calling for boycotts of Taco Bell and Starbucks—while their employers defend the restrictions as a matter of dress code.

Alrady, there have been attire-related incidents: On Long Island, New York, a Target customer was asked to leave after confronting an employee wearing a Black Lives Matter mask and asking if she didn’t think all lives matter, according to news reports describing the June 25 incident.

Employers, reluctant to alienate customers or employees, may hope banning personal statements across the board will keep conflict at bay. But they must consider the legal ramifications of restricting certain forms of expression, and the cost of bad publicity and poor employee morale, the Tribune notes.

“This is definitely a challenge employers are going to face, if not now it is likely they will face it in future,”  Lauren Novak, an attorney with Schiff Hardin in Chicago who represents employers in labor and employment cases, told the news outlet.

.In the Chicago suburbs, a Costco employee told the Tribune that she wore a Black Lives Matter mask to work after hearing about managers making racially insensitive comments to other employees at the warehouse. After working two shifts with the mask, the employee was called into a manager’s office in late June and told to stop wearing it because it was “political,” “controversial” and “disruptive,” the employee told the Tribune.

In a silent protest in the days that followed, the employee, who is Black, said she arrived at work wearing the mask, made sure people were watching, and flipped it inside out upon clocking in.

“For so long we have been taught that we cannot speak out against an unjust system that affects every aspect of our life,” said the employee, who has worked at Costco for more than a decade and asked not to be identified for fear of retribution. “We are supposed to shut up and take it.”

Cellphone photos of Costco’s employee handbook that the employee provided to the Tribune show its dress code says only that employees must be “neat, clean and professional.” People identifying themselves as Costco employees have posted pictures of themselves on Facebook wearing attire at work that celebrates LGBTQ pride.

Costco declined a request from The Chicago Tribune to comment or answer a list of written questions.

Last week, the Chicago-area employee said she was given permission to wear a mask depicting a raised fist as long as it doesn’t include words. The employee plans to make more such masks to distribute to co-workers who want them.

Private employers have the right to regulate what employees wear to work. But restricting some forms of expression could risk violating labor or employment law.

Employers should consider whether employees are wearing Black Lives Matter masks to protest racially discriminatory working conditions, which could be considered protected, concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act, Novak said.

Employers also could face allegations of discrimination or creating a hostile work environment if the dress code policy isn’t consistently enforced and disadvantages people based on race or another protected class, said Fern Trevino, an employment lawyer in Chicago who represents workers.

They could run into issues if attire celebrating LGBTQ pride is permitted but Black Lives Matter is not.

“Employers should inform employees of the dress code policy in writing and should assure the policy is consistently and equitably enforced,” Trevino said.

Some companies have responded to public pressure—and some have not.

Taco Bell apologized after an Ohio employee who declined to remove his Black Lives Matter mask was fired from a franchised restaurant, saying “we believe the Black Lives Matter movement is a human rights issue and not a political one.” The fast-food chain told USA Today that it doesn’t prohibit the wearing of such masks and is working to clarify its policies.

However, Whole Foods says that “in order to operate in a customer-focused environment,” employees must comply with its long-standing dress code prohibiting clothing with visible slogans, messages, logos or advertising that are not company-related. It provides face masks to employees if theirs don’t comply.

Whole Foods, which sent home two New Hampshire employees for wearing Black Lives Matter and “I Can’t Breathe” masks, has seen protests in Massachusetts, Philadelphia and Seattle over the issue.

A central concern for employers is that allowing employees to wear Black Lives Matter apparel will provoke other employees to don All Lives Matter, Blue Lives Matter—or other potentially divisive slogans, Novak said.

It’s a “woke” world we’re living in now: Employers will have to decide whether they will take a stance against those viewpoints, she said.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

40,000 healthcare workers nationwide volunteer for the front lines of New York City’s COVID-19 battle

April 1, 2020

As New York City struggles mightily to get ahead of the swiftly spreading coronavirus pandemic, makeshift hospitals are going up and volunteer healthcare workers—as many as 40,000, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo—are arriving from less-beset areas nationwide to help ease the burden.

Indeed, even as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo put out a call for more supplies and personnel, on Friday, a fleet of healthcare workers from Atlanta came to the rescue, CBS News reported.

More than a dozen health care professionals boarded a Southwest Airlines flight to New Yorkthe airline announced on Instagram, sharing a photo from the plane.

Some of the hands were gloved but everyone in the photo had one thing in common—they all were smiling. Southwest said that the photo “embodies it all: bravery, courage, and sacrifice.”

“These brave souls soldier on in the midst of tremendous risk and exposure, constantly putting the needs of others above their own,” Southwest wrote. “Their selfless sacrifice is a beacon of light during such a dark time in our world, and no amount of gratitude and praise would ever be enough.”

“Because of their courage, our family, our friends, our coworkers, our neighbors, and more have a fighting chance,” the post continued.

And that Southwest flight full of healthcare workers is just a fraction of the additional 40,000 doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, and other medical professionals who have signed up to join the health care force in New York. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced this figure on March 25, saying mental health professionals also are volunteering to provide free counseling CBS noted.

“That’s a big, big deal,” Cuomo said

Indeed, the healthcare professionals on the front lines of this battle have faced several challenges, including a lack of personal protective equipment and the risk of contracting the virus themselves.

In addition, many individuals and companies have thanked health care workers in a number of unique ways. Companies like Crocs, Starbucks and Krispy Kreme have announced they will give free goods to healthcare workers during this time.

And some people are thanking workers by sending food to hospitals. Last week Bill and Hillary Clinton, who are residents of Chappaqua, New York, sent more than 400 pizzas to employees at every hospital in Westchester County, New York, to thank them for their tireless effort.

At 7 p.m. each day, New York’s quarantined population goes to windows, open doors, and balconies to applaud and demonstrate their thanks to the medical community.

Research contact: @CBSNews

Democratic opposition research already is dogging Howard Schultz

February 4, 2019

Since Howard Schultz announced his presidential aspirations on 60 Minutes in late January, Democrats have gone into panic mode—fearing that the former Starbucks CEO will filch votes from their column in the 2020 election.

According to a February 1 report by The Daily Beast, American Bridge, a progressive super PAC that focuses on opposition research, already has compiled its first “oppo” hit against Schultz, who would run as an Independent candidate.

Indeed, the news outlet says, the PAC pitched its reporters on a story about Schultz’s charitable foundation—suggesting that “he uses it to minimize his personal tax bill even as the foundation spends lavishly on executive compensation and overhead.”

The group’s oppo pitch against Schultz piggybacks off of reporting by Fox Business that found Schultz gave less than one percent of his fortune to Schultz Family Foundation during the last fiscal year for which its tax filings are available.

Bridge dug into the foundation’s expenditures and found that it “used its tax-free funding to spend lavishly while Howard Schultz receives tax deductions,” according to a research document the group shared with The Daily Beast. It focused on $400,000 in furniture expenses during fiscal year 2016, and its executive director’s $21,000-per-month salary.

The foundation’s latest annual financial filing discloses that Schultz and his wife, Sherri Kersch Schultz, donated $18 million in the year ending June 2017. The foundation gave out about $7.6 million in grants in that time, and spent just under $2.2 million on operating and administrative expenses, including compensation.

“The country is sick and tired of egomaniacs who think tax policy should be made by and for the rich. Apparently, Howard Schultz didn’t get that memo,” Bridge spokesperson Andrew Bates said in an emailed statement to the news outlet. “The only person who would benefit from a Schultz candidacy is Donald Trump.”

What’s more, The Daily Beast notes, Bridge isn’t the only prominent Democratic super PAC eyeing an offensive against Schultz. Priorities USA Action, a group founded by Bill Burton, one of Schultz’s top consultants, has also threatened to go after him if he declares a presidential candidacy.

We would consider him a target,” the group’s Executive Director Patrick McHugh said last week. “We would do everything we can to ensure that his candidacy is unsuccessful.”

Schultz has said that he will take a few months before deciding whether or not to formally enter the race. But already he’s taken steps that have given off the impression that this is more than just a vanity project—and could constitute a political threat to a Democratic candidate.

Research contact: