Starbucks Canada Prioritizes Safety as it Resumes Store Operations

Starbucks barista wearing a mask

Since the onset of the pandemic, Starbucks has moved quickly to modify and adapt its operations to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The company’s guiding principle from the beginning has been to prioritize partner (employee) and customer safety, based on facts and science, and communicated with transparency.

Amid the outbreak in early March, Starbucks was among the first to pause the use of personal cups and “for here” ware as an initial precautionary measure. Sampling and the use of Cambro® containers were also paused, and cleaning and sanitizing protocols were increased to help prevent the spread of germs in stores. 

Starbucks also took a leadership approach by temporarily closing company-operated stores in high-social gathering locations like stores located in malls and in colleges and universities to encourage physical distancing. 

Now, as Starbucks is on track to resume operations in as many stores as possible by the end of May, partner and customer safety continues to be the company’s No. 1 priority. 

Starbucks safety measures

As the global crisis evolved, Starbucks Canada tested and refined new ways of working to protect the health and well-being of its partners and customers, consistent with the guidance provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada, provincial governments and safety experts. 

Partners, for example, are provided with personal protective equipment, including facial coverings and gloves. It is mandatory for any partner working in a store to wear a facial covering, but gloves are optional. As an additional safety measure, baristas will complete a check-in procedure at the start of each shift, which includes taking their temperature and using the COVID-19 Virtual Coach to ensure they are ready and able to work, helping every member of the team feel more confident while working together.

Starbucks partner at the entryway

Additionally, to protect our partners and our community, Starbucks Canada now respectfully requests customers follow physical distancing and safety protocols recommended by public health officials, including wearing a facial covering when visiting our stores. Although customers do not typically come in prolonged contact with partners or each other in Starbucks current modified operations, this additional step serves as an added layer of protection for our customers and partners.

Preparing partners to return to work

Despite the challenges of navigating this pandemic, Starbucks has remained committed to taking care of its partners. As store operations resume, all partners will attend a re-immersion training to set them up for success and ensure they feel safe, welcomed and supported to run their store.

The training is broken up into two blocks over two days and consists of audio recordings, interactive PDFs, and videos so partners can participate while physical distancing. The first block of training focuses on reconnecting partners with their team and acknowledging everyone’s experience during this pandemic. Partners will also participate in an eight-minute meditation together. The goal is to build greater empathy and understanding for each partner’s journey so that partners can better support each other.

Starbucks barista wearing a mask
Connor Surdi

The second block of training focuses on the operational changes to promote physical distancing and increased safety. This will help familiarize partners with the way stores will work for the foreseeable future. Partners will learn how to move together in a modified store space, up-to-date guidance on cleaning and sanitizing protocols, how to properly handoff a customer’s beverage while giving them the space to retrieve it safely, and how to create positive customer experiences in this uncertain time. 

Reimagining the Starbucks Experience

After expanding services to include entryway pickup, Starbucks is now looking forward to adding grab-and-go in the future. Where social distancing can be accommodated, this format will allow customers to place an order in the café and take it to-go, or use the order ahead and pay feature in the Starbucks App and pick it up at the counter. In preparation, Starbucks is sourcing plexi-shields to be installed at the POS.

Starbucks Canada is well on its way to resuming operations across the country. By the end of this week, Starbucks Canada will have safely resumed operations in 65% of stores with modified formats.

Starbucks drive-thru
Connor Surdi

Currently, Drive-Thru and take-out only locations remain open to serve customers, and delivery is available through Starbucks Delivers via Uber Eats. In most cases, customers who use the Starbucks app can pick up their order from a barista at the door without entering the café or at the drive-thru.

The Starbucks Experience may differ depending on location, but it will still be convenient, familiar and safe for all customers.

To learn about what customers can expect, watch the video below.

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