Starbucks Canada To Close Cafés and Move to Drive-Thru and Delivery Only

Some exceptions will be made for cafés serving in or around hospitals in our efforts to serve thousands of first responders and health care workers who are on the front line.

Starting today, effective immediately, Starbucks will close access to its cafés and move to drive-thru and delivery only. Some exceptions will be made for those cafés serving in or around hospitals and health care centers in the company’s efforts to serve first responders, health care workers, and their incredible support staff.

Starbucks Canada president Lori Digulla made the announcement in a letter to all partners today. “Thank you so much for all you’re doing, and above all else know that all our decisions are balancing partner and customer care, with science and facts, to serve our communities in the most impactful way we can as long as it is safe to do so,” she wrote.

Below is Lori Digulla's full letter:

Dear partners,

Thank you again for our conversation yesterday. As we discussed, the magnitude of managing through this situation is the single biggest challenge many of us have faced in our lifetime. We are continually reviewing our partner support and operations and making decisions daily to ensure we’re responding to the changes we’re seeing and experiencing across the country. Thank you for your flexibility, your engagement, your on-the-ground insights, as well as the feedback you share. Today, we have some important new information about additional steps we are taking to support you, our customers and our communities.

Let me be clear: We are now more than ever committed to our Mission and values and the communities we serve. Just as we have for nearly 50 years, Starbucks will always make the courageous decisions, even if they're difficult ones. And today, those decisions are rooted in facts and science, partner care as a priority and the reality of how challenging it is to focus on every partner and our communities (now and throughout this crisis) while navigating this on a store by store, minute by minute, community by community basis across this vast country.

Closing Cafés and Going to Drive-Thru & Delivery Only

Since the onset of the outbreak, we’ve worked to exceed public health requirements by taking actions in our cafés like expanding sanitizing and cleaning processes, and removing furniture to reduce risk and create the safest environments we can for partners who want to come to work. Importantly, we removed our seating and moved to a take-out, Drive Thru and MOP service only, to support social distancing. Even so, we’ve all recognized over the last week the challenges and complexities of trying to reduce “social gathering” in our cafés even as we removed furniture and reduced our services to grab n go. While we have worked hard to exceed any public health requirements, our cafés in some areas are experiencing high traffic during moments of the day and we need to do more to prevent the spread of this virus. It has also become apparent how time intensive it is for everyone to manage the entire country in this way, causing too much time to be pointed at operational changes and schedule management rather than providing even more partner care in a more holistic way, and leveraging our size and our scale to help our communities and our country in even more impactful ways. Today, we are making the decision to close access to our café’s altogether for two weeks and limiting our services to drive thru and delivery only. Some exceptions will be made for those cafes serving in or around hospitals and health care centers in our efforts to serve first responders, health care workers, and their incredible support team. These changes apply to our company-owned stores, and our licensed partners will make decisions for their properties.

Partners will still be paid for the next month, even if you choose to stay home

We will expand the Catastrophe Pay support we announced just yesterday. We want to underscore that any partner serving in our stores that remain open are there because they want to be there to serve their community at this time. If you feel you’re taking a risk by coming to work or fear carrying the virus, please stay home. To guarantee that partners feel completely empowered to make that choice, we are going to pay all partners for their shifts over the next 30 days, whether you choose to work or not.

Supporting First Responders, Health Care Workers, and the Communities We Serve

We don’t believe lattes are “essential.” But in times of crisis, the government asks convenient food and beverage outlets to remain open when possible for pick up, drive-thru, or delivery. Cafes, gas stations, and other take out and convenience stores are part of a support system that offsets the pressure that is already high on grocery stores. This is especially important to serve thousands of first responders and health care workers who are on the front line, which is why our stores in or around hospitals, or communities with limited food options, will remain open with partners who are explicitly choosing to continue to serve.

We will continue to work very closely with local, provincial, and the federal government to continually assess how best to stay open, stay safe and be a part of the solution during this time.

I appreciate all of your incredible commitment to each other and your desire to serve our communities, to create best moments and desperately needed points of connection. We are just evolving our approach to do it in a different way.

Thank you so much for all you’re doing, and above all else know that all our decisions are balancing partner and customer care, with science and facts, to serve our communities in the most impactful way we can as long as it is safe to do so.

This is a crisis that is moving quickly, and we need to stay ahead of it and do our part, recognizing this is often confusing, frustrating and dynamic. As anticipated, this change may come as a surprise or seem sudden given our recent conversation. I am sorry for that as we have done our very best to avoid this from happening. I hope that you understand. I deeply appreciate your patience and flexibility, and please keep sharing your thoughts and experiences because YOUR feedback informs our decisions.

With gratitude,

Lori Digulla

thumbnail for Starbucks new lavender drinks offer a taste of spring for everyone

Starbucks new lavender drinks offer a taste of spring for everyone