starbucks coronavirus

Starbucks may move to drive-thru service only or limit seating in the wake of coronavirus

As businesses across the country and all over the world continue to grapple with how to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, Starbucks Canada has announced that they may transition to either drive-thru only services at some locations or limit seating in cafes. 

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO and president, posted an open letter on the company's website yesterday to outline the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the pandemic. 

Johnson said they're learning from experiences with their stores in China, where they're seeing encouraging signs of recovery with 90 per cent of them reopened. 

Still, he said they're prepared to implement measures beyond the precautionary steps already taken in response to the outbreak. 

"While we are currently maintaining regular operations across the U.S. and Canada, our stores are prepared to modify operations with options that still allow us to serve you your favourite beverage and food," he said. 

"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."

He said as a last resort, they'll close individual stores if directed to do so by government authorities or if they feel it's in the best interest of employees and customers. 

"In any such situation, we expect store disruption to be temporary," he said. 

Johnson also said the company intends to ensure that all employees are well taken care of during these unsure times. 

"We have a long-standing history of caring for our partners, recognizing they are the heartbeat of Starbucks," he said.

"That is why, as we navigate this dynamic situation, in addition to our sick leave benefit and mental health offerings, we are also expanding catastrophe pay so that partners do not need to feel like they need to choose between their health and their work."

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