Skip to content

Starbucks is Adopting This McDonald's Strategy in Order to Survive

The coffee chain giant is closing 400 locations in order to test out a new business model in the wake of COVID-19.
starbucks coffee

Your favorite coffee chain may be closing its storefront nearest to you over the next year and a half, but not because the company is doing poorly. It's a move to better tailor to consumers' needs—and it's been in the works for a while.

Largely in response to the pandemic, Starbucks made an announcement today that the company will close up to 400 locations over the next 18 months. In place of these traditional cafes, Starbucks will be opening pickup locations designed for takeaway orders.

According to Restaurant Business, the news was revealed in a letter to "all Starbucks stakeholders" where CEO Kevin Johnson states that he envisions every major metro area in the U.S. having a mix of both cafes and pickup-only stores. The incentive for the remodel is to give customers more options when choosing a to-go coffee drink or breakfast sandwich without overcrowding the store, which was an issue long before the pandemic even began.

READ MORE: Click here for all of our latest coronavirus coverage.

How many times have you walked by a Starbucks and decided to skip your morning coffee order because the line was too long inside? The crowding that inevitably occurs at this chain (and at various times throughout the day) has pivoted from being a disservice to the company's daily traffic to instead posing a potential health risk.

More on Coffee

  • black owned food brands

    50+ Black-Owned Food Brands to Support

    There are so many delicious options!
  • independent coffee shop

    6 Things You May Never See at Coffee Shops Again

    A simple coffee run is different during a pandemic.
  • Dark roasted coffee

    The Signs You're Drinking Too Much Coffee

    That heartburn isn't coming out of thin air!
  • mini pancakes in bowl

    ‘Pancake Cereal’ Is the Best New Food Trend

    But is it actually cereal?
  • whipped coffee with three different flavors

    Make Whipped Coffee Three Different Ways

    Make frothy flavored lattes with this tutorial!

"Starbucks Pickup stores will provide more points of presence to better serve 'on-the-go' customers while reducing crowding in our cafes, thereby improving the 'sit-and-stay' experience for third-place occasions," Johnson said in the letter.

The need for these Pickup stores outweighs the novelty that comes with sitting in a traditional cafe, and recent sales data is indicative of it. Even with 95% of Starbucks locations open, more than 90% of sales have come from orders placed through the drive-thru or via the app online.

Interestingly, the new model was already in the works, however, Johnson had originally anticipated having it unfold over the course of three to five years. The pandemic merely expedited the plan.

Eat This, Not That! is constantly monitoring the latest food news as it relates to COVID-19 in order to keep you healthy, safe, and informed (and answer your most urgent questions). Here are the precautions you should be taking at the grocery store, the foods you should have on hand, the meal delivery services and restaurant chains offering takeout you need to know about, and ways you can help support those in need. We will continue to update these as new information develops. Click here for all of our COVID-19 coverage, and sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date.

She Lost 100 Pounds—And Shows You How!

Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist Ilana Muhlstein lost her weight and kept it off—and in You Can Drop It!, she'll show you how to lose it, too. More than 240,000 clients have chosen her program—and now it’s yours to keep.

Cheyenne Buckingham
Cheyenne Buckingham is the news editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in food and drink coverage, and breaking down the science behind the latest health studies and information. Read more