Your Next Neighborhood Starbucks Location Might Be Drive-Thru Only

Honey, I shrunk the green giant.

A drink hand-off through a Starbucks drive-thru window.
NATA FUANGKAEW/shutterstock
NATA FUANGKAEW/shutterstock

Remember when Starbucks seemed to lean hard into the idea that its stores should be more than coffee shops, but rather buzzy community hubs where neighbors cheerily gather to share gossip and good will? When its locations approximated real neighborhood cafes, right in your backyard? When you might swing by with a good book or your laptop and settle in all afternoon for just the price of an [insert expensive coffee joke here]? 

Well, regardless of any brand’s intentions, gatherings, hang sessions, and general indoor lingering remains on hold for the time being, while grab-and-go operations are on the rise. Starbucks, for its part, plans to increase its drive-thru window operations, COO Roz Brewer said in a Tuesday earnings call reported by Restaurant Dive. Those operations include drive-thru only spots, meaning no seats, no free laptop outlets, and presumably very little town gossip. 

The news comes after data showed that Starbucks locations with drive-thru windows “drove over half of net sales during Q1, increasing more than 10% from pre-pandemic levels,” Restaurant Drive reported. 

"These results give us confidence that our targeted initiatives to unlock capacity and enhance the customer experience at our drive-thru locations are boosting our business recovery while strengthening our foundation for future growth," CEO Kevin Johnson said on the call.

MORE: We tried Starbucks' new Pistachio Latte to see if it's any good.

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