In a letter to employees, CEO Kevin Johnson said that Starbucks is preparing for the “monitor and adapt” phase of recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, and is preparing to reopen stores in the U.S., which have all been closed with the exception of delivery and drive-thru options since March 21. This decision comes about as many areas of the country begin to see a decline in new cases of COVID-19 as evidence that flattening the curve is working. Starbucks is just one of several major foodservice operators beginning to consider how their company will operate in a post-lockdown world.
Johnson stipulated in the letter that store openings will be carefully selected and monitored based on local and federal guidance and ordinances, and that some Starbucks stores may allow for contactless pickup, while others will allow for to-go ordering even as dining rooms remain closed. Many others still will remain open only as a drive-thru or mobile delivery option.
“As we experienced in China, this will be a journey and we are thoughtfully preparing for this next phase as we adapt in the U.S.,” Johnson said in his letter.
Where and when stores will begin to open will be largely determined by data procured from a “data-rich dashboard” that monitors levels and trends of COVID-19 cases. Although Johnson would not expand on more details about which markets would be set to open first, he did clarify that Starbucks leaders would be looking at four different factors to determine store readiness: the “local status of the health crisis, guidance from health and government officials, community sentiment and store operational readiness.”
“Only by trying to exceed local, state and national health requirements will we be ready to serve our communities,” Johnson said. “Not all decisions are financial, and in a crisis like this, they must be secondary to the health and well-being of our partners and customers.”
Starbucks catastrophe pay and other related benefits have been extended to May 3.
Following a preliminary financial update on April 9 that revealed same-store sales down 60-70%, the company will report its final second-quarter results on April 28.
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