Starbucks Changes Operations Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Published on: 16 Mar, 2020

Starbucks (NASDAQ: SBUX) has opted to modify operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. The company’s CEO Kevin Johnson notified customers of potential changes such as limited seating within the establishments or in some cases limiting service to strictly drive-thru. Stores in both the U.S and Canada are updating procedures to best handle the current situation.

“This means that as we navigate this dynamic situation community-by-community and store-by-store, we may adapt the store experience by limiting seating to improve social distancing, enable mobile order-only scenarios for pickup via the Starbucks app or delivery via Uber Eats, or in some cases, only the Drive-Thru will be open,” Johnson wrote in a letter to customers on Thursday.

If needed the company is prepared to temporarily close a location. On March 5th this resource was used in Seattle when a barista became infected and the local was shut down. Having always been a safe work haven for many, the cafe since resumed its services after thorough disinfection, thirteen employees still face self-quarantine.

According to Rossann Williams, a Starbucks executive that oversees 200,000 U.S workers, the last couple of weeks have been “very challenging times for all of us,” she also expressed that “We’re all learning as we go.”

Similar to its procedures in China, the company had said that they will provide “catastrophe pay” covering up to 14 days for baristas who have come in contact with coronavirus. The chain has been able to reopen 90% of its stores in China.

Ultimately Starbucks shares plummeted 6% during early trading.


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Andy Liao



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