Starbucks is known for their friendly service, not to mention their tasty drinks. Customers are oftentimes able to lounge in the seating area of a Starbucks, if they have one, and be there for hours. Unfortunately for Starbucks addicts, your local Starbucks may no longer be up and running.
The coffee giant, formally known as Starbucks Coffee, will close approximately 400 locations nationwide over the next year and a half due to the changes in consumer behavior caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Starbucks will be expanding their pickup stores, Starbucks Pickup, in New York City, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and other dense markets. Starbucks will be expanding drive thru and curbside pickup options and walk up windows in suburban areas, according to a news release.
Starbucks employees shouldn’t get too discouraged. According to an open letter from Starbucks' CEO and president, Kevin Johnson, partner hours will increase as customer traffic builds in the new norm for the company. “Until that time, however, the number of hours many of our partners were used to pre-pandemic won’t be available.”
Johnson stated, Starbucks has learned about the recovery process when reopening stores from their experience with their locations in China in addition to the locations they’ve reopened in the U.S. and although Starbucks is pleased with their progress Johnson notes that they “are by no means immune to this global pandemic.”
Starbucks’ alterations to service may be a blueprint for how other companies will manage and cope with the changes to customer experiences brought on by the pandemic. Johnson believes the change in consumer patterns will remain as customers will be cautious as the country reopens and until a vaccine is developed and broadly available.