Starbucks is planning to “gradually expand” operations at some stores in the U.S., citing progress in the fight to contain the coronavirus.
The company is taking a store-by-store approach to resuming business activities, which will remain limited to services like drive-thru, delivery and takeout via mobile orders and contactless pickup.
“As we experienced in China, this will be a journey,” Chief Executive Officer Kevin Johnson wrote in a Thursday memo to staff. “We are thoughtfully preparing for this next phase as we adapt in the U.S.”
The company did not set a specific target date or timeline for the increased operations, instead adopting a “monitor and adapt” approach. In his memo, Johnson said the process will be gradual and be based on communities’ individual circumstances and guidance from government and health officials. Local sentiment and stores’ readiness to get back to work will also be considered.
Restaurants across the globe have shut their doors or severely scaled back services as the outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, has prompted people to limit social contact to contain the spread.
In recent weeks, Starbucks has been testing formats such as contactless service, entryway pickup and curbside and at-home delivery in 300 of its U.S. stores. The company closed many of its North American stores on March 20, and limited operations at the rest.
Starbucks shares were little changed on Thursday. The stock fell 17% this year through Wednesday amid outbreaks in China and the U.S. — the company’s two key markets. Earlier this month, the company withdrew its financial guidance for the year and said negative impacts may run until the end of its fiscal year in September.
The Seattle-based chain is also extending some benefits for U.S. store workers through to the end of May.