Starbucks reopening 85% of stores as coronavirus lockdowns ease

Stores to focus on contactless pick-up, delivery and curbside pickup

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Roughly 85 percent of Starbucks cafes across the country are slated to open by the end of the week as states begin to loosen restrictions meant to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By early June, the coffee giant hopes to have upwards of 90 percent of its stores open to the public under modified operations and hours.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson says the company is taking a "monitor and adapt" approach where stores will focus on contactless pick-up, delivery and, in some locations, curbside pickup and grab-and-go through the café.

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Cafes will also put a major emphasis on cashless payments, Johnson said in a letter to employees and customers Monday.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
SBUXSTARBUCKS CORPORATION89.66-1.14-1.26%

"The foundation of our approach comes from what we have learned in China, where more than 98 percent of our stores are now open and operating under revised protocols," Johnson wrote. "We have adapted these protocols for the U.S."

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Previously, the company was in a "contain and mitigate" phase, which offered service at drive-thru locations only.

Customers wearing protective masks order outside at a Starbucks coffee shop in the Brooklyn borough of New York, on April 27, 2020. (Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Starbucks is one of a slate of businesses reopening their services in phases as the U.S. economy reopens from a prolonged shutdown. And although it won't be business as usual, Johnson says the company is "well-positioned" to handle this new reality.

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"Pre-COVID-19, more than 80 percent of customer orders in the U.S. were for 'on the go' — through the drive-thru, in a café at point-of-sale or through Mobile Order for pickup or delivery," he wrote. "That means the majority of Starbucks customers are already familiar with the safe, convenient experiences that are now called for by physical distancing recommendations."

The company's app, which is currently used by nearly 20 million customers, is also being tailored to the shifting needs of customers, with voice ordering and curbside pickup options now available.

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The company said it is providing all its locations with protective equipment, including facial coverings and gloves. Additionally, employees will have to check-in prior to the start of their shift and check their temperature. The coffee giant will also enhance cleaning and sanitation procedures in its locations. Seating will still be prohibited until it is deemed safe to do so.

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"Our goal is to exceed the standards outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for a safe experience, including heightened emphasis on cleaning and sanitizing protocols in our stores," Johnson said.