Starbucks to re-open some stores with ‘modified’ ops starting May 4

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Starbucks Corp. is making plans to re-open stores as it readies for a phase it called “monitor and adapt.”

Beginning May 4, Starbucks said it will re-open as many stores as it can with modified operations and best-in-class safety measures. Similar to its experience in China, where more than 95% of its stores have now re-opened, Starbucks said it will gradually expand and shift its in-store customer experiences. 

Some locations will continue as drive-thru only, while others may feature mobile ordering for contactless pickup and delivery. Still others may reopen for “to-go” ordering.  (More than 60% of Starbucks’ U.S. stores include a drive-thru, and approximately 80% of all customer orders were placed “on-the-go” prior to COVID-19.)

“As we have experienced in China, we are now transitioning to a new phase that can best be described as “monitor and adapt, ” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in a letter to employees. “This means every community will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and people and businesses in that community will begin to adapt.”

Johnson said Starbucks field leaders will use the local status of the health crisis, guidance from officials, community sentiment and operational readiness of the individual location to inform their decisions. 

Starbucks said it  tested a variety of service options in more than 300 stores across the U.S. during the last few weeks, including contactless service, entryway pickup, curbside delivery and at-home delivery. 

In a separate letter to employees, Rossann Williams, Starbucks’ executive VP  and president, U.S. company-operated business and Canada,  emphasized that there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to re-opening stores. 

“The impact of COVID-19 varies across communities, and decisions will need to be made locally, with our field leaders, store managers and local health experts,” she said. “We will use the strongest data available to help us assess a store’s readiness, considering things like the trajectory of the virus, local mandates, operational capabilities and customer and partner sentiment.”

To support its employees, Starbucks is extending its service pay through the end of May, with an additional $3 per hour. It is also extending its catastrophe pay for employees who have been diagnosed or exposed to Covid-19. It will similarly provide catastrophe pay until the end of May for employees with  child care challenges.  Those who are unwilling to work will no longer receive catastrophe pay after May 3, but they can explore options through paid leave and other programs.

Williams said the company expects to   phase out catastrophe pay and service pay in June “as we return to our normal operations, pay and benefits. We will share additional details in the coming week, once we have them finalized."






 “As states begin to relax their stay-at-home orders and more communities prepare to reopen, we will need to get our stores back up and running, wherever it is safe and responsible to do so, so we can keep every partner employed and be a light for our communities through this next phase of rebuilding and recovery. 




  “We are finding new, innovative ways to serve our communities safely while working hard to exceed public health requirements and adjust to new customer expectations,” Johnson said.

To support field leaders in these decisions, we have developed a data-rich dashboard to provide comprehensive information, including government data on confirmed cases and trends about COVID-19 and how that may influence decisions at the individual store level. As the ability to test for COVID-19 increases, we’ll be able to continuously enhance our monitoring capabilities.



. Thanks to our digital leadership, we are positioned to evolve the Starbucks experience for millions of our loyal customers. 










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