Starbucks Corp announced its first-ever dividend on Wednesday, joining food and beverage companies like McDonald's Corp and Coca-Cola Co in making payouts to shareholders.

The coffee chain set a quarterly dividend of 10 cents per share. It will be paid on April 23 to shareholders of record on the close of business on April 7.

Starbucks, which is initially targeting a dividend payout range of 35 percent to 40 percent of net income, also plans to buy back 15 million common shares.

This is in addition to 6.3 million shares that remain available for repurchase under previous authorizations.

Public companies use dividends to distribute a portion of earnings to shareholders. Mature public companies are most likely to offer dividends since younger, fast-growing companies tend to steer business proceeds into expansion efforts aimed at boosting shares.

Analysts had predicted that Starbucks -- which is generating significant free cash after a long and painful restructuring -- would debut a dividend before the start of its annual meeting in Seattle on Wednesday.

(Reporting by Dhanya Skariachan in New York and Lisa Baertlein in Seattle, editing by Dave Zimmerman)