Published 17 April 2020
As the United States continues to battle the spread of COVID-19, slowdowns of cases in some areas of the nation has prompted some companies to consider partially reopening. In response, coffee giant Starbucks has created a framework to help its stores move to the next phase of operations during the COVID-19 crisis.
April 17, 2020 — In a letter released on their website, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson has announced the coffee company’s framework to reopen stores in the United States. The letter is specifically addressed to US Starbucks partners and outlines what they can expect to happen in the near future.
Johnson emphasizes that due to the hard work of governments, essential healthcare workers and the public at large, some markets are now beginning to see the slowdown of COVID-19 cases. This has prompted the company to produce a framework of the next steps to take. This framework will prioritize both the health and safety of staff and the consumer needs of each community. Starbucks aims to eventually return to ‘normal’ operations, however what that normal will look like remains to be seen.
For the past month, all Starbucks locations have been shut to the public and only serving customers through delivery or the drive-through. Now, US locations are being prepared to move into the next phase, which Johnson describes as “monitor and adapt”. All locations will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation in their communities, and make decisions that are appropriate to their situation. Some locations will continue to operate as drive-through only, while some may begin to open for to-go orders.
In order to provide individual locations with important information about COVID-19 in their area, Starbucks has created a “dashboard” of statistics and data about COVID-19 in specific locations. The goal of this is to provide each location with the ability to make informed decisions at the store level. This emphasizes that what each store can and will do over the next few weeks is unique, and every store cannot be expected or pressured to do the same things.
Johnson concludes that the question of when and how all US Starbucks will reopen is one that can only be answered in time. He asserts that “only by trying to exceed local, state and national health requirements will we be ready to serve our communities. Not all decisions are financial, and in a crisis like this, they must be secondary to the health and well-being of our partners and customers.” Thus, each store has a responsibility to keep the public safe first and foremost, before moving on to the next phase of the framework for their location.