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Starbucks is hoping to juice up sales with seasonal menu items such as a new iced guava passionfruit drink as it reopens 85 percent of company-operated stores under guidelines designed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Along with the hot pink concoction, the company's summer features include the new Grilled Chicken and Hummus Protein Box, the Unicorn Cake Pop and the S’mores Frappuccino Blended Beverage.
"We are now in a new phase of this journey during which, step-by-step, we are reopening stores, reconnecting with customers and recovering our business globally, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a note to the chain's U.S. partners Thursday.
Johnson said the company is getting a "positive response" from customers as it adapts to a new normal with contactless pickup and delivery, protective equipment and enhanced sanitizing measures.
"Over the last week, we have now regained about 60 percent to 65 percent of prior-year comparable U.S. store sales while reopening under modified operations and with reduced hours," Johnson said.
Although he cautioned that it will "take time to fully recover" from the stifled economy, he hopes the fresh menu will help draw in customers.
The passionfruit special, appropriately named the "Welcome Back" drink on social media, made its debut around the same time that Disney Springs, a themed retail, dining and entertainment complex at the Walt Disney Resort in Florida, welcomed back guests. Unsurprisingly, social media users took notice.
The industry giant projects to have upwards of 90 percent of its stores open to the public by early June.
"We will all be shaped by this shared experience as we navigate a global pandemic, and this experience will be a catalyst for new ideas," Johnson added. "Ideas that reshape our future and create lasting positive change,"