SEATTLE - Starbucks will reportedly begin reopening some stores with limited service in May — and anticipates reopening 90% of its company-owned U.S. locations by early June.
The Seattle-based coffee giant temporarily closed about half of its U.S. stores due to the coronavirus pandemic. The reopening of stores will occur in “carefully planned stages,” Starbucks COO Rosalind Brewer said in a Tuesday earnings call, according to the trade publication Nation’s Restaurant News.
And it won’t necessarily be the same Starbucks experience that many coffee drinkers have come to expect.
A view of a Starbucks store open only for mobile orders during the coronavirus pandemic on April 24, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
Starbucks will reopen stores in a modified format with service that includes drive-thru, delivery, in-store pickup and a new outdoors hand-off solution. The new options will allow customers to pick up their drinks without entering a store, according to the publication.
“Only 30 stores will open their cafes [at first] and in those 30 stores there will be no seating and we will monitor what happens [before we move forward],” Brewer said. “Then, later in the summer we’ll add curbside access to our stores. We’re managing what we’re learning and applying what we learn accordingly.”
Cafe seating will not be available. At some locations where social distancing can be implemented, stores will offer “grab and go,” allowing customers to place an order in the cafe and then take it to go, according to its website.
Starbucks will also be available for delivery on Uber Eats.
As part of the new safety measures, all employees will have their temperatures taken before starting work and be required to wear facial coverings during their shifts, the company said.
“As we begin the recovery process that requires ongoing monitoring to rapidly adapt and recover, we are well-adapted in our digital assets to expand service to customers and focus on the customer experience, beverage innovation and digital assets,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said during Tuesday’s call.
In early March, the coffee chain closed all seating areas to customers at company-owned locations in the U.S. in response to the growing global outbreak of COVID-19 — while still allowing for carryout. It later closed cafes to walk-in customers and restricted all ordering to drive-thru and delivery.
Select grocery locations and cafes located near health centers or hospitals have remained open to continue serving medical workers “in a responsible way,” the company said.
Starbucks operates more than 30,000 stores worldwide, including 15,000 locations in the U.S.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.