Starbucks Reduces Worker Hours to Reflect Pared-Back Operations
By Heather Haddon
Starbucks Corp. said it would further limit employee hours to
match pared-back operations at its U.S. stores, reflecting
expectations that sales won't bounce back from the coronavirus
pandemic until at least this fall.
The world's largest coffee company said it is encouraging
workers to take unpaid leave until September because it has decided
to keep the dining rooms at most of its thousands of U.S. cafes
closed for now. The latest reduction comes after the chain in May
reopened stores with reduced operations and had to trim employee
hours as a result, limiting sales to drive-throughs, delivery and
Starbucks has pared down its business because many restaurant
owners remain concerned over how to protect workers and customers,
the company said. Executives haven't said when cafe service will
Workers were expected to begin learning about their reduced
hours and options at meetings with their managers beginning Monday,
Starbucks store supervisors said. Employees will have about a week
to decide whether to keep working with the reduced hours or take
unpaid leave until the fall, according to the company.
Some workers have expressed concerns to Starbucks that their
hours have dropped below the typical threshold to qualify for
health insurance and wellness benefits, a draw for many employees
to work at the chain. An executive said in an internal forum for
employees last week that Starbucks was looking to reduce the number
of hours needed to qualify for insurance coverage given the
Starbucks is among fast-food chains grappling with how to reopen
and retain workers while they expect business to remain diminished
by the pandemic. Consumer sales are down even as states allow
businesses to reopen with restrictions.
"Customer routines and occasions have changed, for all
retailers," said Rossann Williams, president of the U.S.
company-operated business and Canada, in a letter to employees last
Starbucks and some other restaurants are also having to factor
in worker safety and store closures as a result of protests sparked
by the death of George Floyd. The coffee chain said it closed some
stores over the weekend due to damage or to safeguard
Starbucks is encouraging workers who take unpaid leave to apply
for unemployment benefits and an extra $600 a week granted under
the federal coronavirus relief bill.
Starbucks said late last month that U.S. same-store sales were
down 35% to 40% from last year, even after the company restored
modified service to more than 85% of its company-owned stores.
Ms. Williams said in her letter last week that hours for
Starbucks employees, already reduced, would fall further as the
company adjusts to sales demand. Starbucks is also having to spread
hours across more workers as employees who took leave provided by
the company earlier in the pandemic return to their jobs.
Some employees are leaving the company rather than work reduced
hours, Ms. Williams said.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
June 01, 2020 16:27 ET (20:27 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.