Starbucks adopts drive-thru- and delivery-only model

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Starbucks adopts drive-thru- and delivery-only model

By Dan Berthiaume - 03/23/2020

Visitors to Starbucks stores will now need to be behind the wheel of a car.

In response to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, Starbucks is closing all consumer access to its company-operated café stores, including patio seating, through at least Friday, April 3. Customers will need to purchase food and beverage via either drive-thru window or Starbucks Delivers on-demand delivery. The retailer plans to offer Starbucks Delivers nationwide by the end of April. 

On Sunday, March 16, Starbucks shifted to a “to go” model in all company-owned U.S. and Canadian stores, including a temporary phase-out of all in-store and patio seating. Customers were still able to walk up and order at the counter or through the “order ahead” feature in the Starbucks app.

However, in response to challenges in trying to reduce “social gathering” inside stores and in an effort to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Starbucks is temporarily halting “to go” service at corporate stores. Some exceptions will be made for stores serving in or around hospitals and health care centers. 

“Let’s be real, Rossann Williams, executive V.P. and president, Starbucks U.S. Retail, said in an open letter. Lattes aren’t ‘essential.’ But in times of crisis, the government asks convenient food and beverage outlets to remain open when possible for pickup, drive thru, or delivery. We will continue to work very closely with local, state and the federal government to continually assess how best to stay open, stay safe, and be part of the solution during this time.”

Starbucks also said it is going to pay all store associates for the next 30 days, whether you come to work or choose to stay home.