Starbucks looks towards sustainability and delivery

Starbucks has announced plans to focus investment into sustainability and delivery for 2019. On top of expansion plans that began rolling out earlier this year, Starbucks looks to take this one step further into the international market. On top of this, Starbucks is looking at ways in which their cups can stay out of landfill through various sustainability initiatives.

Following the launch of delivery services in China as of late last year, Starbucks has continued to develop its systems, and look at ways in which they can be improved. Through ghost kitchens, or cloud kitchens, a kitchen that exists solely to prepare takeaway/delivery food, Starbucks has been able to improve the efficiency and quality of their products. Patrick Grismer, Starbucks CFO, said, “[When a] consumer is placing an order for delivery, it doesn’t really matter where that is prepared. What the consumer cares about is that it is high-quality and is delivered in a timely fashion. And so they’re experimenting with hidden-kitchen type operations in China, and we’re learning from their experience to understand how we might bring a similar model to life in the U.S., particularly in large metro markets like New York.”

On top of this, Starbucks confirmed that they would also be partnering with Alibaba, Starbucks China’s delivery partner, to test out the efficiency of its cloud kitchens in relation to the delivery service. However, Starbucks maintains that a high-quality product is the focus. They have been experimenting with menus and certain items to make sure that customers cannot order something likely to spoil by the time it arrives. Grismer said, “I know a macchiato or a cappuccino—something that has foam—doesn’t hold up well after 20 minutes. So there were certain products that were removed from the delivery menu, so that we could, with confidence, enter into delivery know that our consumers would be having a comparable high-quality product and service experience.”

Starbucks has also been looking at sustainability and how their cups can be reused/repurposed. On top of being founding corporate members of the NextGen Cup Challenge, Starbucks has also launched The Cup fund in collaboration with Hubbub. This scheme looks to raise funds to support community recycling programs for coffee cups and offers grants between £50,000 and £100,000. Furthermore, Starbucks U.K. announced that it would be trialling the first-ever reusable cup scheme at Gatwick Airport in London. Customers will be offered the option to take their drink in a reusable cup, which they will be able to return to stations around the airport for cleaning and reuse. The trial at Gatwick is an opportunity for Starbucks to build on their efforts last year where they charged customers five pence to use a paper cup instead of a reusable cup, leading to a 126 percent increase in reusable cup usage.

As a world leader in the foodservice industry, it is important for Starbucks to make moves like this, towards a more sustainable future.