Starbucks to Close 400 Locations, Expand To-Go Options
Starbucks is the latest company to announce closures amid the coronavirus pandemic.
USA Today reports that the coffee giant will shutter 400 stores in the next 18 months, but will also be expanding their "on the go" options that are powered by the Starbucks app.
Starbucks says the changes are due to shifts in consumer behaviors because of COVID-19.
As customers are looking for contact-less options, they'll soon be able to use curbside pickup from their cars. Customers will use the Starbucks App to order and pay ahead, plus check-in at designated parking spots when they arrive. Starbucks is going to offer this at more locations, as well as designate select stores to be curbside pickup only.
Starbucks says their mobile-only pickup stores are intended for customers in dense metropolitan areas looking to order and pay ahead using the Starbucks App on the way to their next destination. The first pickup location of this kind opened in Penn Plaza in New York City in November 2019.
In terms of drive-thrus, Starbucks is looking to "continue to expand and enhance the drive-thru experience for customers including opening new locations outside of densely populated cities and in new markets." They are also considering double lane drive-thrus.
CEO of Starbucks, Kevin Johnson, said in a statement,
“Starbucks stores have always been known as the ’third place,’ a welcoming place outside of our home and work where we connect over a cup of coffee. As we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we are accelerating our store transformation plans to address the realities of the current situation, while still providing a safe, familiar and convenient experience for our customers.”
In the middle of March, Starbucks temporarily closed some stores and shifted others to drive-thru only.
Founded in 1971, Starbucks now has more than 32,000 locations worldwide.