stores

Starbucks Says It's Planning to Start Opening Stores Again—Here's How

Stores may not look the same.
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· less than 3 min read

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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson must know I’ve missed saying “no whip low-fat caramel macchiato” out loud. In an open letter to employees yesterday, he said the company is preparing to reopen U.S. stores.

The game plan: Starbucks calls it “monitor and adapt,” but it could also go by “common sense.”

  • Store reopening dates will vary by location, depending on COVID-19 cases in the area, guidance from health officials, operational readiness, and local community sentiment.
  • Mobile pickup and to-go orders will return, but in-store seating won’t yet. Not that sippers will mind: Before the pandemic, around 80% of orders were already placed on the go.

The strategy seems to have worked in China, where Starbucks closed more than half of its roughly 4,290 stores due to the coronavirus by January. By the end of February, 85% of them had reopened with the monitor and adapt plan.

My takeaway: Even as retailers reopen their doors, customers won’t find the same experience inside. Analysts say coronavirus-inspired changes like contactless payments and traffic limits will last for months and may become permanent.

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