Starbucks closing 400 stores, opening more walk-up, curbside shops

Taylor Rock

Many Starbucks locations reopened in May for mobile pickup and grab-and-go orders. Now one month later, the chain has announced an 18-month plan to transform stores, blending the traditional cafe experience with new physical and digital customer experiences.

Coronavirus Coffee Trends During Quarantine

According to an open stakeholder letter from CEO Kevin Johnson and CFO Pat Grismer, the proposal includes the closing of 400 stores and the opening of 300 new locations — down from an original expectation of 600 — formatted for better functionality after coronavirus.

So, what changes can customers expect? In dense metropolitan areas like New York City, Chicago, Seattle and San Francisco, customers will see more Starbucks Pickup stores. Instead of ordering in person, customers who visit these locations will place and pay for their order ahead of time using the Starbucks mobile app, track the progress of the order on a digital status board and then pick it up directly from the barista. This is not a full store format.

In suburban areas, Starbucks will increase the number of stores that offer curbside pickup, and pilot a number of stores that will offer this option exclusively. The chain will continue to enhance and expand the drive-thru experience including in new markets, and might even consider double-lane drive-thru or walk-up windows as well.

The pandemic, and lack of access to coffee shops, led to many at-home coffee trends. If your shop gets closed or you're looking to change your morning routine, here are some coffee tips and recipes to make at home.