What do you get when you cross the Japanese flair for healthy food, artfully presented, with Starbucks? The Bistro Box! I first noticed these boxes -- a collection of Asian-influenced cuisine presented in neat little compartments -- last week and couldn't help chuckling. I could almost imagine the conversation that must have taken place at Starbucks headquarters.
Starbucks Research & Development Maven: "Eureka ... I've got it! Let's offer our customers Bento Boxes, just like you find in Japan. They're quick, they're healthy ... research shows consumers want that."
Starbucks Marketeer: "Bravo, my friend. But forget the 'Bento' nonsense. Sounds too much like Mento. We'll call them Bistro Boxes, Americanize the contents and market the hell out of them! Finally, something on our menu that can transform Starbucks into a food destination. (Stifles evil laugh ...).
And so, a new food concept was born. Starbucks launched the Bistro Boxes on July 11. "Customers are always looking for wholesome, delicious and convenient food options for their on-the-go-lifestyle," they said, "Bistro Boxes are available all day and provide customers delicious and balanced nutrition with wholesome ingredients comprised of proteins, vegetables, fruits and whole grains." It appears they forgot to mention one ingredient: Listeria Monocytogenes. The USDA this week forced a recall of some of the Bistro Boxes in Georgia and Alabama when it was discovered that the chicken -- provided by a supplier called the Flying Food Group -- was potentially contaminated. On a positive note, the Apple Fritter is looking pretty good right now.