Hundreds of locations have permanently shuttered since 2020, and more have been announced.
This article is free of bias, and is based on corporate postings and accredited media reports. All linked information within this article is fully-attributed to the following outlets: Starbucks.com, QSRMagazine.com, StarbucksEverywhere.net, Google.com, QuerySprout.com, and KTVU.com.
In his October, 2020 article for QSRMagazine.com, entitled “Starbucks to Close 800 Stores as it Readies For the Future,” author Danny Klein stated: COVID-19 learnings changed the trajectory of Starbucks' growth. Among the many disruptions brought forth by the crisis, it ushered in a changing consumer. One who was emerging pre-pandemic, but has arguably come years in a matter of months. And two words define the present and future for Starbucks: Convenience and efficiency. In June, the company unveiled a portfolio repositioning that predicted 600 corporate closures over the next 18 months or so (400 in the U.S. and 200 in Canada).
As the company continued operations during the year, Klein also reported that due to “solidly positive” numbers at drive-thru locations and suburban stores in Q4, and the month of September, Starbucks upped their potential closure figure to 800 locations between the U.S. and Canada.
As has become typical in the age of COVID-19 regarding reportage of widespread chain location closures, however, rumors took hold with segments of the general public that Starbucks as a company was permanently closing.
Daily-updated websites such as StarbucksEverywhere.net (not related to the company) have been publicly accessible, and while the site’s closure list regularly increases there is no such list on the page that considers new openings. See here for the site’s “Starbucks Closing Dates” page, which nonetheless includes the following disclaimer: Note that because of the pandemic, any closing date between March 2020 and 2022 might be an approximation, and many permanent closures are missing from this list (because I have not yet confirmed them). Additional, some stores listed as closed might reopen at some point.
The acknowledgement aside that some of the listed closures may be temporary, online questions have continued about the present health of the company.
Let us explore further.
Plans For 2022
A cursory Google search of “Is Starbucks Permanently Closing?” in turn yields a Google reader question: “Why are all the Starbucks closing?” implying the general concern. The answer that appears: But SFGATE now reports the Seattle-based coffee company has closed some stores around the Bay Area due to staffing shortages, proving not even giant coffee companies are immune to the staffing issues plaguing the restaurant industry.
Shortening the Google search to simply“Starbucks Closings” yields: “Is Starbucks in Canada Shutting Down?” The answer: So many Starbucks cafes across Canada are also shutting down shops, with the company announcing that 144 stores are set to be closed by the end of March 2021. It's part of a wider plan to shutter as many as 200 Canadian locations over 18 months.
Yet again, such Google results — unless they are specifically searched for — do not mention the balance of the stores opening.
See QuerySprout.com article here, as an example of such balance. The article, entitled “Is Starbucks Closing Stores? (All You Need To Know),” stresses the following: Starbucks’ closings will be accompanied by the opening of new locations, mostly drive-thrus and to-go stores. So, the stores that are being closed will be replaced by better-performing models at different locations. Essentially, there are two reasons for this shift. First, Starbucks expects the new store formats to be more efficient and more profitable. Second, the closings reflect changes in customer preferences for takeaway services, delivery, and curbside pick-up. For example, as much as 80% of all sales at 15,000 Starbucks locations in the US are already from to-go orders.
Finally, KTVU.com, in their article on recent closings, blames continued staff shortages from COVID. See here.
Starbucks is a perennial entity that will shutter underperforming stores, aggressively search for new employees due to staff shortages, and comply with Covid precautions when necessary.
And yet, the balance of store closures will be made up for and expanded by growth in other business sectors and increased locations.
The entity is in no danger of permanently shuttering. Chalk that to rumor.
Than you for reading.