Starbucks will close up to 400 company-owned locations in North America over the next 18 months. The company will do so as they shift to build their pick-up locations.

The coffee giant says the moves are being driven in part by the changing consumer behaviors, something the Seattle based company saw happen during the recent COVID-19 pandemic. During that time the country shifted to a mobile-order and drive-thru way of life.

In a statement, the company announced they would move to "increase convenience-led formats in company-operated locations with drive-thru and curbside pickup options, as well as Starbucks® Pickup locations. These store experiences are powered by the Starbucks® App"

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Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO said, "Starbucks stores have always been known as the ’third place,’ a welcoming place outside of our home and work where we connect over a cup of coffee. As we navigate through the COVID-19 crisis, we are accelerating our store transformation plans to address the realities of the current situation, while still providing a safe, familiar and convenient experience for our customers.”

During the pandemic, curbside pickup grew for both retailers and restaurants. Before the pandemic struck, more than 80% of Starbucks’ U.S. orders were placed on-the-go with many using the order and pay ahead feature on the mobile app. There are nearly 20 million Starbucks Rewards members, the company said.

Starbucks opened in 1971 and has approximately 32,000 stores around the world. There is no word on which stores will be shutting their doors as of yet. Genesee Country has around 9 locations in the area both free standing and inside store locations.


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