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Starbucks to add delivery, change its cafe cleaning schedule  2 Months ago

Source:   USA Today  

For Starbucks, the new year began on Oct. 1 with the start of its fiscal calendar, so the Seattle-based coffee chain already knows what its new year's resolutions are — and how it plans to stick to them.

At the Starbucks investor day conference in New York City on Thursday, company executives outlined several changes coming that are of interest to consumers.

Here are three biggies:

Starbucks currently is running a pilot delivery program with Uber Eats in Miami and, according to chief operating officer Roz Brewer, plans to expand it to nearly one-quarter of the company-owned stores in the U.S. by the end of the second quarter. On the Starbucks calendar, that's March.

The coffee giant declined to provide a list of cities that will get delivery in the coming months.

The larger network of delivery-capable stores will also utilize Uber Eats.

Though Starbucks said in April that it was cutting its number of limited-time offers by 30 percent, it's still serving up new beverages.

The company has identified cold drinks as a growth area and one new menu item Starbucks aficionados will see is called a Cloud Macchiato. Details weren't disclosed.

On Thursday, assembled analysts and journalists tasted the Spiced Meringue Macchiato -- cold-pressed espresso poured through spiced meringue cold foam on ice with "winter spices of cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and clove," according to the investor day menu. It was part of a test in Nashville last summer. 

Also, due to the success of Draft Nitro Cold Brew, the company plans to roll it out in all U.S. company-operated stores by the end of fiscal year 2019.

Back in July during the third-quarter earnings call, the company talked about how it plans to make customer experience better by adjusting how much time its store employees — or partners in Starbucks lingo — spend on administrative duties. The move is expected to free up two to three hours a day.

On Thursday, Starbucks released more details about how that will be accomplished.

The perhaps most noteworthy take-away is what the company calls "Clean Play," a decision to move some cleaning the stores to the end of the day.

"This includes deep cleaning of store or equipment that would require a partner to be fully dedicated to that task and not able to serve customers," the company said on Friday. "Cleaning that supports customer service will continue throughout the course of daily operations."

The news comes as Starbucks continues works to increase customer traffic.

Other changes include improved inventory track and replenishment systems and reducing inventory quantities, which cuts the need for employees to move away from their stations.

"Our customers come to us for the best coffee, but stay in our cafes for the best moments we create," Brewer said. "We haven't always made it easy for our partners to slow down, look them in the eye."

Currently, cafe staffers spend 40 percent of their time on responsibilities like cleaning, inventory management and scheduling, and 60 percent on customer-facing tasks, Brewer explained, adding that employees "turn away from" customers up to 22 times an hour during peak times.


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