Starbucks is by far the biggest beverage chain in the world, but it wants to ensure no one will ever come close to its market share.
With that in mind, the chain introduced on Thursday its Triple Shot Reinvention plan, which involves three top priorities: elevating the brand, strengthening digital capabilities, and becoming truly global. These objectives are supplemented by “two pumps”—unlocking efficiency and reinvigorating partner culture.
Using these guidelines as a North Star, Starbucks hopes to double its 75 million global rewards members within five years, reach 55,000 stores by 2030, generate $3 billion in savings over three years, and double income for hourly employees by the end of fiscal 2025 in comparison to fiscal 2020. The strategy is a major follow-up to the chain’s Reinvention plan, an idea presented by founder Howard Schultz to elevate the in-store experience, diversify store designs, invest hundreds of millions in new equipment, and enhance the employee experience.
As of October 1, Starbucks had 38,038 shops worldwide. It’s projecting nearly 41,000 units by the end of fiscal 2024 (next October). The company foresees 7 percent new store growth next year, with 75 percent coming outside the U.S.
To reach the global footprint goal, the brand would have to open an average of eight new stores per day. In the past five years, Starbucks opened 9,000 shops, 7,000 of which were outside the U.S.
China will be a significant part of future expansion. In Q4, the country’s same-store sales increased 5 percent, driven by 8 percent growth in transactions and a 3 percent decline in average ticket. At the end of the quarter, Starbucks had 6,806 shops in China. In Q4, the brand opened a record 326 net new stores in China, reaching 13 percent growth over the prior year. The results give Starbucks confidence in reaching 9,000 stores in China by 2025, opening nearly 1,000 net new stores every year.
“We just concluded a watershed year in China, where we put the pandemic behind us, and built growth momentum for the future,” Belinda Wong, chairwoman and co-CEO of Starbucks China, said in a statement. “In commenting on the overall international business, Wong noted that the omni-channel strategy “gives us great confidence and high ambition for our international business, fueling nearly 1/3 of the earnings growth potential of Starbucks over the long-term.”
Of course, growth will also come via the U.S. The domestic footprint is on track to surpass 16,300 in fiscal 2024, according to the brand’s expectation of 4 percent net new store growth.
As Starbucks expands, it promises to develop “more purpose-defined stores and accelerate renovations.”
“We see an opportunity to better leverage our footprint to serve the evolving needs of our customers. Innovation in our store formats, to purpose defined stores like pick-up, drive-thru only, double-sided drive-thru, and delivery-only allows us to better meet our customers where they are at through differentiated experiences,” Sara Trilling, executive vice president and president of Starbucks North America, said in a statement. “To capture that demand we will build more new stores—with new formats, in new cities and cities we’re already in. To be clear, Starbucks has not saturated the U.S. market.”
In terms of cost-savings, the brand’s $3 billion efficiency program envisions $2 billion of that coming outside the store in cost of goods sold. These funds will be reinvested into the business and used to deliver returns to shareholders. Q4 consolidated operating margin expanded 310 basis points from the prior year to 18.2 percent, fueled by better efficiency in U.S. outlets. North America’s operating margin was 23.2 percent in Q4, widening 420 basis points versus 2022 due to increased efficiency from the Reinvention plan, sales leverage, and favorable impacts of pricing, partially offset by investment workers.
“We are very confident in our ability to create a more resilient, durable business for the long-term,” Rachel Ruggeri, CFO and executive vice president, said in a statement. “While our opportunity is clear, we know that our success, everything we do, is dependent on the differentiated experience our partners create for our customers. After all, our partners are our superpower.”
The Triple Shot Reinvention plan announcement comes after a record-breaking quarter for customer demand.
In the U.S., the chain’s fall menu launch led to record average weekly sales (including the sixth-highest sales week ever), fueled by a healthy mix of ticket and transaction growth. Ninety-day active Starbucks Rewards members reached 33 million and set records in spend per member and total member spend. And it’s not just the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte attracting guests. The company also saw strong performances from new offerings, like its Apple-inspired beverages and food items.
“Customer demand for us remains strong,” CEO Laxman Narasimhan said during the chain’s Q4 and full-year earnings call. “We’re not really seeing any change in the sentiment in our customer base at this time. And I think what it does is it reflects the strength of the Starbucks brand globally, it reflects the loyalty of our customers, it reflects our position in their routine, and it also reflects the long-term durability of this business.”
In addition to boosting rewards membership, Starbucks will build on its program with Delta Airlines by launching new partnerships with a financial institution and a hospitality partner within the next six months.
The brand also unveiled new tech collaborations to enhance the customer and employee experience: A team-up with Microsoft to connect Starbucks’s product innovation lab to generative AI capabilities, a partnership with Apple products to streamline worker duties, and a reimagining of the guest experience with Amazon One and Just Walk Out technology.
“Starbucks has direct, digital relationships with hundreds of millions of customers,” Brady Brewer, executive vice president and chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “Our ambition is to know every customer, personalize their experience, and make Starbucks effortless. We have a clear and compelling roadmap, the acceleration has already started, and we will extend our digital leadership globally.”
U.S. same-store sales grew 8 percent in Q4, driven by 6 percent average ticket and 2 percent transactions. International comparable store sales increased 5 percent, caused by a 6 percent uptick in transactions and a 1 percent drop in average ticket.
In the fourth quarter, total company revenue reached a record $9.4 billion, representing an 11 percent increase year-over-year. Full-year revenue reached a record of $36 billion, representing 12 percent growth year-over-year.
Starbucks expects fiscal year 2024 global comp growth to be 5 percent to 7 percent. The same goes for the U.S. market.
“We have the ability to reach our customers, and we have multiple levers in terms of how we deal with any uncertainty that we might see, and that’s true as well in the U.S,” Narasimhan said. “So, I feel good about the momentum we have. We’re obviously extremely watchful and humble about where we are, and we’ll do everything we can to exceed the expectations of our partners and our customers. But we do have multiple levers to play.”