Key takeaways from Starbucks investor day: New CEO, Union negotiations, Olive oil coffee

Yahoo Finance food reporter Brooke DiPalma discusses important takeaways from Starbucks Investor Day.

Video transcript

DAVE BRIGGS: Starbucks held its annual meeting of shareholders today. CEO Laxman Narasimhan led the meeting in his fourth day as the official CEO of the global coffee chain. Brooke DiPalma here with the details. Brooke, what were your big takeaways from the day? I know there's this big strike that started taking place yesterday on his third day--

BROOKE DIPALMA: On his third day.

DAVE BRIGGS: --at the job.

BROOKE DIPALMA: Now, it's the fourth, so we're moving right along.


BROOKE DIPALMA: But Lakshman certainly is leading into the concept of this being a new era for the global coffee chain. And he started this morning with a letter to leaders, where he said that he plans to reinvigorate culture about what it means to be a partner, what they call employees. He also said that he plans to work half a day each month at stores in order to keep him close and Starbucks close to culture and to its customers. And he did say that the refounding of Starbucks, that reinvigoration, is quote, unquote, "well underway."

But as Dave noted, this comes at a time where there is that ongoing tension between both Starbucks and the more than 290 company-owned stores that have voted to unionize. And so in a Q&A, when asked about if Starbucks will enter a labor neutrality agreement, the public affairs for Starbucks, AJ Jones, said it will, quote, "not because it will prohibit the ability for us to talk openly and freely with our partners, provide them with the information that they need about the value and importance of relationship with us and how it could change under union representation."

Now, of course, one of the proposals that they did vote on today-- that is, shareholders of Starbucks-- was to push the company to agree to do an independent assessment of its commitments to workers' rights. So of course, that's things like the freedom to collective bargaining and the ability or right to join a union without management interference.

We will get the results of the shareholder meeting today in four business days. So certainly, lots to unpack and lots on Laxman's plate. But, of course, this does come as Howard Schultz, the former CEO of Starbucks, is set to testify on the Hill next week.

DAVE BRIGGS: Yeah, that'll be interesting after what we saw today, man.

SEANA SMITH: It certainly will be interesting.

DAVE BRIGGS: Although it'll be much more one-sided, the questioning of--


DAVE BRIGGS: I think Republicans--

SEANA SMITH: Safe to say.

DAVE BRIGGS: --are pretty supportive of Howard Schultz.

SEANA SMITH: Yeah, yeah, exactly. He's only going to be facing maybe some of those hostile questions from one side of the aisle, coming up here in a few weeks. But, Brooke, when we talk about some of the items that are on the agenda here for the new CEO, the Oleato--

BROOKE DIPALMA: Right, right.

SEANA SMITH: I'm saying that right?

BROOKE DIPALMA: You're saying it right.

SEANA SMITH: An olive oil-infused coffee. We got it on set. We talked about it, so we got it. Give it a try. I'm a little skeptical, to be honest.

BROOKE DIPALMA: All right. Well, this is the cold brew with the golden foam. Now, I did get this from a Reserve, so it does not come in this fancy cup all the time. This runs a bit lower in price. But for this one, it was $9 from our local Reserve. Now, this golden foam, they actually-- it's creamy.

SEANA SMITH: The coffee was $9?

BROOKE DIPALMA: The coffee was $9. I know. Yeah.



BROOKE DIPALMA: But it typically--

DAVE BRIGGS: 9 bones?

SEANA SMITH: --runs lower. It's typically about $6.45 for this one at a--



BROOKE DIPALMA: --when it does roll out nationwide. So this was introduced today, and then it will essentially roll out at nationwide Starbucks in the coming months. It's now available in the Reserve locations and select locations as well. But it-- they're calling it a lush flavor. And then Howard Schultz said virtually on the call today that it has a lingering aftertaste--


SEANA SMITH: It does have a lingering aftertaste.

BROOKE DIPALMA: So be prepared for that.

DAVE BRIGGS: I'm surprised how much you can't taste the actual olive oil. We actually made one in our coffee bar, here at Yahoo, and I didn't taste it. I taste it, and I actually feel it on my lips a little bit. Thank god, I love olive oil, but--

BROOKE DIPALMA: And I did want to point--

DAVE BRIGGS: --I don't know.

BROOKE DIPALMA: --out today that at the Reserve, they had this big to-do about it. Amelia was one of the baristas, I guess you could say, who was serving samples. And as she pointed out-- don't choke now, Dave.

SEANA SMITH: Don't choke.

BROOKE DIPALMA: As she pointed out, she said it was like a moisturizer for your lips, and I actually thought that was pretty legit.


BROOKE DIPALMA: It's olive oil--

SEANA SMITH: Although I don't know if I want--

BROOKE DIPALMA: --and it stays.

SEANA SMITH: --to be tasting my coffee like a moisturizer, but I don't know.

BROOKE DIPALMA: It's not bad.

SEANA SMITH: Initially, I thought it was pretty good. Now, I'm a little skeptical. That aftertaste is very, very strong.

DAVE BRIGGS: Every once in a while, I'd give it a go.

SEANA SMITH: Not for $9 though.

DAVE BRIGGS: I don't know if it was a gift to Laxman or not--

BROOKE DIPALMA: Some analysts do worry--

DAVE BRIGGS: --by Howard Schultz.

BROOKE DIPALMA: --that it was not going to be a habitual routine and that it may just be one and done.

SEANA SMITH: Well, all right, guys. Well, we got to leave it there. We got to drink our coffees.