Starbucks is reopening in Shanghai

Shanghai lifted its two-month lockdown on Wednesday. So far the coffee chain has reopened about 600 of its 940 stores in the city, according to Starbucks spokesperson Jaime Riley.

Employees “are eager to be serving customers, reconnecting with their local communities, and contributing to the city’s gradual return to normalcy,” Riley said, adding that “we are also working with the local authorities to gradually resume indoor dining as soon as possible.”

China’s biggest city was under some form of lockdown from late March until this week, leaving tens of millions of people confined at home, upending business in virtually every sector and bringing the city to a standstill.
In the days since the city lifted its restrictions, residents have tried to return to normalcy. Photos provided by Starbucks show customers milling into Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Shanghai, which reopened Friday.
Starbucks is reopening in Shanghai as restrictions lift.
Still, the city’s reopening process may not be so smooth. Just a day after the official lifting of restrictions, several Shanghai neighborhoods were locked down again after Covid cases were discovered.
China’s reopening is important to Starbucks (SBUX), which sees the region as key to its future growth.

During the company’s most recent earnings call in May, interim CEO Howard Schultz said he remains “convinced Starbucks’ business in China will be eventually larger than our business in the US.”

He noted that “our aspirations around China have never been greater,” but described the lockdowns as “unprecedented,” adding that “conditions in China are such that we have virtually no ability to predict our performance in China in the back half of the year.”

Belinda Wong, the chairman of Starbucks China, added at the time that about a third of Starbucks Chinese restaurants were closed or open only for delivery and pickup, and that most of the remaining stores were “operating under strict safety protocols that interfere with our traffic and operations.”

There are currently about 5,600 Starbucks in China. The company wants to have 6,000 Chinese locations by the end of the year.

— CNN Business’ Michelle Toh contributed to this report.