Starbucks pushes new food items to boost sales

NEW YORK — Starbucks wants coffee fans to think of it as a spot to grab lunch or late afternoon bite — not just a place to get a cup of morning joe.

The Seattle-based chain is looking to increase its US sales by making its food a bigger attraction, particularly in the slower hours. In April, for example, Starbucks launched several new sandwiches and salads.

Troy Alstead, chief financial officer at Starbucks, said at the Jefferies Global Consumer Conference Tuesday that one out of every three purchases already includes a food item and that food accounts for 19 percent of overall sales. That’s up from the low-teens ‘‘not that many years ago,’’ he said.


And food should account for a greater portion of sales as it rolls out better pastries from recently acquired La Boulange bakery, he said.