Story at a glance:

  • Starbucks CEO says his business is aiming for complete indoor dining.
  • Starbucks has been staying afloat through the pandemic in part from its mobile app orders, which social media influencers have been using to their advantage.
  • Starbucks is hoping people will return to their indoor cafes and make it "their third place."

Starbucks is looking to make a full comeback. By the end of May, the company is aiming to allow 100 percent seating at its locations, according to CEO Kevin Johnson.

With 60 percent of Starbucks's seating currently limited, Johnson told The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday that his company will soon welcome full indoor dining.


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"We have been guided by the CDC, and certainly local government restrictions in COVID, but I think we are going to see in the United States, we are going to continue to see this expansion," Johnson said.

Starbucks says its sales were greatly impacted by the coronavirus as the company’s lodge-like experience, one of the noted features of the business, was hampered by social distancing protocol under each state’s mandates.

According to the NASDAQ, which Starbucks is part of, stores closed as consumers stayed in their homes to adhere to guidelines and avoid getting sick. Starbucks has, however, seen gains from its mobile operation.

As reported by BuzzFeed News, a Starbucks earnings report shows that 26 percent of orders from January through March 2021 were mobile orders, which is an increase of 18 percent of orders the year before. 

Coinciding with the spike in mobile orders, intrigued TikTok users also made videos featuring complicated custom Starbucks drinks — such as Starbucks Appuccino, the latest crave on social media.

More importantly, companies are reevaluating their protocols as the CDC releases new guidelines and more people becoming inoculated from the virus. Johnson said as more Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine, he sees his business adapting to a return of customers’ “third place” — a welcoming place for people to do work, socialize and connect with the community. 

"I would expect all stores across the country will have some form of limited seating, and as the vaccine continues to be distributed, and as we see COVID cases continue to decline, that going to return that third place experience that we all know and love,” Johnson said.

“Certainly with this new world of hybrid work where workers are sometimes working from home sometimes in the office, that visit to Starbucks, and even having that third place, whether it is to sit and share coffee with a family member or colleague, but also to do some work is going to be alive and well,” he concluded.


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Published on May 14, 2021