Starbucks said at an investor event Wednesday that it plans to increase its store count to about 55,000 by 2030, up from roughly 33,000 today. The company is betting that by flooding the market with new types of stores, including smaller locations and ones with drive-thru and curbside pickup, it will be able to steal more customers from the competition.
“Though we are growing off a large base, there is ample room to expand in regions where the Starbucks brand is less penetrated,” said Roz Brewer, the company’s chief operating officer, on Wednesday. She noted that Starbucks has a “particular focus on high volume, high margin, suburban drive-thrus.”
New formats can help reduce congestion in certain stores, said Roz Brewer, the company’s chief operating officer.
“As we introduce more efficient formats, we’re reducing the long lines that sometimes occur in metro locations, unlocking more sales,” she said.
The company has been struggling to regain the business lost during the pandemic, when commuting routines were disrupted as many office employees worked from home. Globally, sales at Starbucks stores open for at least 13 months fell 9% in the three months that ended on September 27, compared to the same period last year.
Some locations have fared better than others. Though overall sales fell in the quarter, sales at Starbucks’ suburban locations and drive-thru restaurants grew.
Meanwhile, competitors like Dunkin’ have been better able to hold onto customers. Dunkin’s same-store sales ticked up 0.9% in the third quarter.
Starbucks’ expansion plan is coupled with efforts to encourage people to visit those locations, including better rewards in its loyalty program as well as new drinks and food.
Better rewards and more oat milk
Companies like Starbucks use loyalty programs to learn more about their customers and spur repeat purchases. This year, in order to motivate more people to join the program, the company broadened the payment options for its rewards program to include cash, credit cards and Apple or Google Pay. Previously, members had to load a Starbucks card to earn points. Rewards members account for about 50% of Starbucks revenue.
Trendy menu offerings also help.
The company said Wednesday that it is planning to roll out its line of oat milk beverages nationally in the spring, after launching in the Midwest early this year. The new line includes a shaken iced espresso beverage, made with brown sugar and oat milk.
The news comes after the chain introduced an Impossible breakfast sandwich this summer, about a year after Dunkin’ launched its Beyond (BYND) sandwich, made with plant-based sausage.
The company reaffirmed its projections for 2021.