For all those coffee lovers out there whose local Starbucks has been closed, there's good news: Starbucks (NASDAQ:SBUX) is starting to reopen U.S. stores this week.
Cautiously bringing back the beans
About half of Starbucks' U.S stores have been closed since the government issued social distancing rules in March to slow the spread of COVID-19. The stores that remained open have been functioning with drive-thru or to-go capacity. Starbucks started a host of initiatives to keep the coffee flowing while protecting patrons and workers, including requiring employees to wear masks and allowing workers to stay home and still get paid.
Starbucks is encouraging customers to use delivery or mobile order and pay options for contactless purchasing. Only about 30 stores will allow customers to enter, and those will not have seating options. Stores are developing a new concept called the "entryway handoff," so patrons don't have to actually enter the store even if they're not using the drive-thru. And they're also working on making curbside pickup a reality.
Heading back to growth
Starbucks announced its second-quarter earnings last week that showed a 10% decrease in comps, including 3% in the U.S., but management didn't seem overly concerned about these results, since some decline was expected. They remained optimistic about their handling of the situation, their customer engagement, and the likelihood that operations would resume and sales would get back to normal ranges.
The company plans to have 90% of its U.S. stores reopened by June.