Some locations remained open throughout the pandemic, providing drive-thru service only.
Many others closed in March as part of efforts to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, a novel coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease.
Starbucks reoriented stores to comply with social distancing measures, including inserting an “entryway hand-off.” Mobile orders can be picked up at the entryways so that customers don’t have to enter the store or interact directly with workers, executives said during a call with investors last week.
Only around 30 locations reopening this week will welcome customers inside. Those stores will have no seating.
“By augmenting the in-store experience with mobile ordering and contactless pickup, we can serve a significant volume of customers without having the cafe seating area actually opened,” Kevin Johnson, Starbucks president and CEO, said on the call.
Johnson said that customers are looking for stores that are safe as the country emerges from the near-total lockdown.
The company didn’t detail exactly how many stores are reopening Monday but Johnson said during an appearance on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that it was a “significant number.”
Executives expect to have 90 percent of all company-operated U.S. stores reopened by early June.
Licensees who own Starbucks locations are receiving the safety protocols the company is initiating.
Another aspect of the reopening features employees, who were being paid even if they weren’t working. Starting this week, employees won’t be paid unless they’re working.
Workers will have their temperature taken before starting work and answer a series of questions to “validate if they’re ready to work,” Rosalind Gates Brewer, Starbucks COO, told investors.
The measures were first deployed in the company’s reopening of its stores in China.
Workers are “excited” about the reopening, she said.