Recently, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz shared that he is closing 16 stores due to safety issues. The stores will close by July 31, including six stores in Seattle, six in the Los Angeles area, two in Portland, and also locations in Philadelphia and Washington, DC. (source) The following specific locations in Washington are going to be closed: 23rd and Jackson Avenue, 1600 East Olive Way, 505 5th Ave South, 400 Pine Street, Roosevelt Way and NE 65th Street and lastly Airport Way and Highway 99 (Everett).
All employees at these stores do have the option to be transferred to other stores.
Most surprisingly about these closures is that all of these stores are profitable. Here is a revealing video via Twitter where Howard Schultz shares more about the problems Starbucks is facing.
According to Schultz, Starbucks employees (also called partners) are fearing for their safety due to homelessness, crime, drug use, and mental health reasons. Schultz even shared that this is just the beginning of the closures.
Schultz says "that all levels of government, the local, state and federal levels have abdicated their responsibility to fight crime."
The data backs up what Schultz is saying. In Seattle, property crimes are up nearly 20% for the first five months 2022 from the year-earlier period, according to the Seattle Police Department.
Starbucks Is Responding With A New Plan
Recently, Schultz released a new initiative where he expressed the need to reinvent Starbucks. In the above video, he shared some incredible facts. First, that half of all customers are using the drive through. Many use the app and use mobile orders. But at the same time, there is more demand than ever for Starbucks coffee.
Here is a main point from the new Starbucks initiative that is takes on a new light with the news of closures due to crime.
"We must transform the Starbucks experience in our stores and recreate an environment that is relevant, welcoming and safe, and where we uplift one another with dignity, respect and kindness." CEO Howard Schultz
We will see where the closures are in the future and how government officials respond to this news.
What do you think of this news?
What do you think the Starbucks store of the future will look like?
Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.