On Wednesday, Starbucks announced a series of strategic changes it plans to make in order to adapt to the coronavirus. These will include the closure of hundreds of locations in the next year-and-a-half, while rolling out more (corporate lingo incoming) "convenience-led formats" that will be pickup-only locations where customers can grab your order curbside, or via drive-thru.
As reported by USA TODAY, the coffee giant said that the move is an answer to the way consumers have changed their behaviors since the pandemic. Since mid-March, Starbucks closed down a bunch of itss locations and shifted into a "to go" model, not unlike just about every other restaurant.
“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 the chain's CEO, Kevin Johnson, in a news release put out on Wednesday.
As just about everybody who's ever had a job knows, a "store transformation plan to address the realities of the current situation" can be terrifying for those who: A.) Work for that company, and B.) Don't like change. In this instance, Starbucks plans to close as many as 400 locations. USA TODAY adds that it simultaneously intends to open up 300 new stores through the "current fiscal year," but that's only half of its original goal of 600.
Starbucks added that its transformation will see several "new Starbucks Pickup stores" in markets that include: New York City, Chicago, Seattle, and San Francisco, and also that "suburban areas" will see stores given enhancements, like walk up windows, curbside pickup, and drive-thrus.
As for how this will all work, orders will be made and paid for with the Starbucks app, and then you're supposed to arrive in a designated parking spot outside the store to await your food/drink/whatever. You've probably been through this, or at least something close to it, if you've ordered food in the past three months.
In fact, this is how Starbucks has operated since the pandemic altered society in ways that have sucked very much. USA TODAY reports that more than 80 percent of U.S. orders from the company have been made with the app's order and pay before coming to the store feature.
Hence the reason this is being made permanent.
"Curbside pickup is an experience accelerated due to the COVID crisis as well as customers’ increasing need for convenience in on-the-go occasions," said Starbucks' statement. "Over the coming months, Starbucks will increase the number of stores that offer Curbside pickup as well as pilot a select number of locations to exclusively offer this format."