Starbucks shares spiked 3.2 percent Tuesday after the company’s plan was made public.
“We will also shift toward more cashless experiences, knowing that the handling of cash creates consumer concerns about the spread of viruses,” Johnson said, adding that he expects the company’s mobile app to become the dominant form of payment.
The new protocols, he said, will be a natural fit for the Seattle-based coffee giant, which says that more than 80 percent of its U.S. orders were placed “on the go” via drive-throughs or the mobile app, even before the pandemic. Starbucks also is applying the lessons it has learned in China, where more than 98 percent of its stores have reopened, and ramping up investments in artificial intelligence that will help the company make “data-driven decisions” about store re-openings and other changes.
“We are putting immense emphasis on the safest and most convenient way for customers to order their favorites from Starbucks,” he said. “As we gradually come out of isolation, people will crave the connection and community that are fundamental to humanity.”
Starbucks temporarily shuttered about half of its 8,000 company-owned U.S. stores in late March and is among the first national chains to announce reopening plans.
The pandemic forced much of the country into hibernation, as social distancing was seen as the best defense against the pandemic. But the shutdowns also hobbled entire industries and led to more than 30 million job losses in recent weeks. Retail sales fell a record 8.7 percent last month.
Health officials have warned that reopening the economy too soon could lead to a spike in covid-19 deaths. More than 1.2 million Americans have already tested positive for the coronavirus, and nearly 70,000 have died.
Other national chains are gradually announcing plans to resume operations. Macy’s reopened dozens of department stores Monday. Best Buy plans to reopen 200 locations in May, with appointments for in-store consultations. Tapestry, which owns Kate Spade and Coach, will opened 40 stores for curbside pickup Friday.