How should stores reopen?
In a letter to employees, Starbucks’ CEO Kevin Johnson last Thursday said the coffee chain plans to employ a “monitor and adapt” strategy as it reopens stores amid a declining number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases.
In the same manner as the chain has done in China as that nation recovered, Starbucks’ locations in the U.S. “will gradually expand and shift the customer experiences we enable in our stores.” Some will continue as drive-thru only, others may focus on contactless pickup and delivery and others may reopen for “to-go” ordering, he said.
Overall, about half of Starbucks’ locations in the U.S. are currently operating and many are drive-through only, according to CNBC.
But Mr. Johnson added that the decision on when and how to open is “a human one.” As such, the company has set up a dashboard featuring government data on cases and COVID-19 trends to help with decision making at the individual store level by field leaders, which include store managers and district managers. “While dozens of factors help inform the decisions, our field leaders look at four factors: the local status of the public health crisis, guidance from health and government officials, community sentiment and store operational readiness,” wrote Mr. Johnson.
Staff will have to be trained on any updated safety procedures before reopening. In China, Starbucks requires temperature checks for guests and gloves for staff. In the U.S., employees had already been told to wash their hands every 30 minutes and to sanitize heavily-touched areas “ideally every eight minutes, but no more than 30.”
The preparations come amid an increasingly politically-charged debate on when to reduce stay-at-home restrictions on businesses to help the economy. Last Thursday, The White House issued guidelines for businesses to reopen, but left it up to each state’s governor to decide. Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina are already making moves to ease stay-at-home orders within the next two weeks.
Without being able to screen employees and customers for the virus, Americans won’t be “confident enough to return to work, eat at restaurants or shop in retail establishments,” business executives told the president last Wednesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- A message from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson: Preparing for the next phase in the U.S. – Starbucks
- How Starbucks Handled Coronavirus In China: Temperature Checks And Gloved Drink Drop-Off – Advertising Age
- One global company’s steps to navigate COVID-19 in China – and the lessons learned – Starbucks
- Starbucks is preparing to reopen cafes as local coronavirus conditions allow – CNBC
- Business Leaders Urge Trump to Dramatically Increase Coronavirus Testing – The Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you think it is a wise move to have store managers and district managers make the decisions on when and how individual stores and food establishments reopen? What hurdles will businesses face as they explore reopening?