Starbucks, arguably the coffee industry’s most influential company in terms of retail operations, has temporarily transitioned into a to-go-only model for all its United States and Canada stores.
As of this writing, the change is scheduled to last at least two weeks. The company has already voluntarily shut down some stores entirely, while others are or will be closing due to government restrictions in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The temporarily closed stores include those that are in communities with high numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases, as well as those in malls and on university campuses.
“As we all know, the situation with COVID-19 is extremely dynamic and we will continue to review the facts and science and make the proactive decisions necessary to protect our partners, customers and communities,” Starbucks Executive Vice President Rossann Williams wrote in a company announcement yesterday.
Here is what the company told its customers and staff to expect:
- We are pausing the use of all seating, including both the café and patio areas
- Customers can still walk up and order at the counter, through the “order ahead” feature in the Starbucks app, via the drive thru and use delivery
- We will have a modified condiment bar in all stores
- You may see modified “order ahead” handoff areas on a store-by-store basis
- Temporary closures for company-owned stores in high-social gathering locations, such as malls and university campuses
- Temporary store closures or reduced operating hours in communities with high clusters of COVID – 19 cases