Starbucks to reopen drive thru stores starting tomorrow

Starbucks is starting a phased reopening of UK stores. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY

Starbucks is starting a phased reopening of UK stores. Picture: NEIL DIDSBURY - Credit: Archant

Starbucks is starting to reopen UK stores for drive thru and delivery starting tomorrow - and NHS workers will get a free drink.

The Seattle-based coffee chain is starting a phased reopening tomorrow and although it has not yet confirmed which branches will be the first to reopen the company has said stores that offer drive through and delivery will be in the first wave.

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There are three drive thru Starbucks in Suffolk - in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds and Lowestoft - and a Facebook page for the Bury St Edmunds branch said they would be reopening tomorrow.

The stores that are open will be announced on the company’s store finder tomorrow.

Branches that do reopen tomorrow will only be taking contactless payments, and will have extra cleaning and social distancing measures in place – including screens to protect staff.

NHS workers will be able to claim a free tall beverage of their choice.

Starbucks say most drinks will be available, but warn the food menu will be slightly restricted.

A statement on the company’s website from Alex Rayner, their UK general manager, to staff says: “We are living in unprecedented times. The impact Covid-19 has had on all of us is significant – each affected in their own way. I want to thank you for your resilience and the kindness you have shown each other as we manage this, together.

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“Every decision we make as an organisation puts your health and well-being – and that of our customers – first. The temporary closures of our stores in March was a difficult decision but the right one.

“During this time, we have been actively engaged with our China and US operations teams as well as operators in Europe who have seen their restrictions ease ahead of ours. We have been learning, testing and refining these operational standards every day and have tailored to the specific needs of our Government and healthcare officials. You will be able to work safely in our stores.

“Therefore, it is with confidence I can say that we are now ready to enter our reopening phase.”

“We will begin the phased re-opening plan beginning May 14 with a focus on drive through locations adding take-away, mobile order and pay as well as delivery operations shortly thereafter. By staggering our approach, we can also sensibly ramp up our supply chain focusing first on a reduced menu of beverages and then fresh food to simplify operations. This will also enable our social distancing measures which will be further supported by shortened opening hours to reduce the number of partners on shift each day which will also allow greater flexibility to travel to and from work.”

The chain intends to fully reopen all branches by the end of June.

Find all of our coronavirus coverage here.

‘This process also allows us to accelerate our planned technology updates into relevant locations better servicing you and our customers as we continue to adapt to new ways of working.

‘I know many of you are looking forward to being back in store helping to get our teams, brand and country back up and running. While we enter a ‘new normal’, the role coffee plays in creating connection and community hasn’t changed and now, more than ever, having something familiar is incredibly important. Coffee isn’t just a beverage – it’s also a symbol of normalcy and routine.

‘With your ongoing support, I am confident that our people, stores and business are set up for success and that we will get through this stronger than ever.’

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