America's Biggest Coffee Chain Is Closing 100 Additional Locations
America's biggest coffee chain is reducing its footprint in poorer performing urban areas amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Starbucks had already announced the expected closure of 400 domestic locations back in June as it firmed up a pandemic business strategy. Now, the company has slated an additional 100 underperforming locations for closure, which brings the total number of shuttered Starbucks coffee shops we can expect to see across the next year to 500.
The chain has also announced the closures of 300 of its Canadian stores over the same time period. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)
On Starbucks' fourth quarter earnings call, CFO Patrick Grismer said the company upped the number of domestic closures after learning it could "manage the closures much more efficiently than we had originally anticipated. That's largely about average lease exit costs."
If you're worried the closures will impact your ability to find a Starbucks in your neck of the woods when you need a morning or afternoon pick-me-up, fear not. While hundreds of locations are being closed, even more will be open in the Americas over the same time period. In fact, the coffee chain still operates 15,337 locations in the U.S. and more than 32,000 globally, according to Restaurant Business Online.
What you will find, though, is that it may be harder to find a Starbucks in a city center. The company is aggressively expanding in suburban areas, where locations can support drive-thru windows and attract ex-commuters who are working from home for the foreseeable future. In addition to traffic shifts, the company also noticed that people are in the mood for caffeinated beverages later in the day.
"We've seen U.S. transactions migrate from dense metro centers to the suburbs, from cafes to drive-thrus, from early mornings to mid-mornings with outpaced recoveries on weekends," Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said on the call.
Another thing you can expect to see more of as the company shifts its strategy? Takeout-only Starbucks Pickup locations, where you can pick up your digital orders with minimal wait times.
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