SEATTLE—Over the next year and a half, Starbucks will close up to 400 U.S. locations while redesigning others to showcase convenience and digital integration, Chain Store Age reports. The coffee chain will step up expansion efforts for mobile-order only, counter pickup, curbside delivery and drive-thrus. It will also relocate stores from malls and other low-traffic areas to new locations to add drive-thrus.
The pivot to digital isn’t new, as Starbucks had these changes in the works, but the company is pushing for quicker implementation because of COVID-19 than the original three- to five-year period. Among things to change faster are more mobile ordering, more contactless pickups and fewer people in stores. The company will also only open around 300 new locations in the Americas, down from its original 600.
“As we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we are accelerating our store transformation plans to address the realities of the current situation, while still providing a safe, familiar and convenient experience for our customers,” said Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks.
Starbucks will add more pickup store formats in more densely populated areas like Seattle, San Francisco, New York and Chicago. In the suburbs, it will focus on walk-up windows, drive-thrus and curbside pickup. Starbucks Pickup’s second location, also in Manhattan, will open soon.
“By blending traditional Starbucks stores in dense markets with these new Starbucks Pickup stores optimized for the mobile order occasion, we not only improve the customer experience for those who want to sit in our store and enjoy their beverage but also create a great experience for those customers who want a convenient way to pick up their beverage on-the-go,” Johnson said.
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