Starbucks’ Coronavirus Response: Open New Plants for the Future, Expand Delivery Service Now, Enhance Employee Benefits

The company plans to highlight its strategies and successes at its annual shareholders meeting

By Bill Conroy March 18, 2020

Seattle, USA - April 18, 2012: Starbucks corporate office on 2401 Utah Avenue South at twilight, just outside downtown Seattle in the Sodo district.

Seattle-based Starbucks will highlight a series of efforts being undertaken to care for its employees and pursue continued business responsible growth at the companys annual shareholder meeting today, March 18, which will be held virtually this year due to the coronavirus threat.

Among the efforts underway that offer evidence of the companys confidence in the future are plans unveil next year a $130 million coffee-roasting plant, warehouse and distribution facility in China, where the coronavirus outbreak originated late last year. As further evidence of the progress that can be made against the deadly virus, Starbucks Chief Executive Office Kevin Johnson also will highlight the fact that 90% of the companys stores in China are now open only about a month and half after Starbucks was forced to shudder more than 2,000 stores in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

As we are navigating this dynamic global environment together, we will continue to prioritize the health and well-being of our partners and customers while we support local health officials and governments in containing the virus, Johnson says. We are a resilient and enduring company by staying true to our mission and values with a purpose that goes beyond the pursuit of profit.

Earlier his week, Starbucks also announced that it was transitioning to a to go model for all company-owned stores in the United States and Canada for at least two weeks to encourage social distancing in its cafes. That means customers now have the option of ordering at the counter, ordering ahead for pick-up using the Starbucks mobile app, visiting a drive-thru location, or using the companys delivery service.

In addition, the company says its Starbucks Delivers service, in partnership with Uber Eats, will reach national U.S. availability by the end of April, making it available in 48 states where both companies operate.

On another front, Starbucks is expanding its employee benefits package, which already includes paid sick leave and catastrophe pay, to now include a new mental health benefit that will provide 20 free counseling sessions every year to employees and their families. The new benefit is being rolled out in partnership with Lyra Health.

Starbucks has the financial strength and resilience to manage through this extraordinary time, guided by our mission and values, Johnson says.

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