February 10, 2006

In rare flop, Starbucks scraps chocolate drink

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp. on Friday said it
would stop selling Chantico, a rich chocolate drink introduced
with much fanfare last year, because it was not adaptable to
different customer tastes.

In a rare flop for the fast-growing No. 1 coffee shop
chain, Chantico was pulled from Starbucks' menu in January, a
year after its introduction, spokesman Alan Hilowitz said.

Described as "a drinkable dessert," Chantico resembled the
thick, sweet hot chocolate found in European cafes but was only
available without any variations in a 6-ounce size.

In the end, that limitation irked customers who are used to
dictating not only the size of their lattes and cappuccinos,
but also whether they want regular or decaf coffee, non-fat,
whole or soy milk, sugar-free or regular flavor shots, and even
extras like whipped cream and caramel.

"It was something that customers did like, but they wanted
to be able to do something else with it," Hilowitz said. "We
wanted to go back and give customers what they are looking

The chain is testing other kinds of chocolate beverages and
food offerings, Hilowitz said, but added that they were
unlikely to resemble the now-defunct Chantico.

"I wouldn't say (it will be) a replacement for or a
Chantico-like product," Hilowitz said. "I'd say kind of the
next evolution of what an indulgent product would be at