Navigating the Complexity of COVID-19 in Europe, the Middle East and Africa

A letter to Starbucks partners from Martin Brok, president, Starbucks Europe, the Middle East and Africa

Dear partners,

As the situation with COVID-19 unfolds, we have approached every decision with you at the centre while doing our part to help to maintain the health and safety of our customers.

Operating in more than forty countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa requires that we respect local cultures, laws and policies of each territory. Since the outbreak we have been supporting our equity and licensed partners with a detailed response framework as they navigate the differing speeds at which the virus is spreading. We have done so by taking proactive measures to help contain the virus – through pausing the use of personal tumblers and increased cleaning measures for all “for here” ware (ceramic mugs, plates etc.) – to varied, localised and relevant approaches including reduced seating or limited store hours.

Today, we have government mandated store closures in more than a dozen countries and expect this to increase in the coming weeks. As we move through this next phase within the region, we are staying close to the recommendations of healthcare providers and have chosen to allow each operator to implement the most appropriate solution for their unique circumstance. In some cases, this will be additional hygiene guidelines, moving towards 100% paper-goods as well as updated cash handling procedures while continuing to reinforce our already up-leveled hand washing and sanitising measures.

As stores inevitably begin to close, we know that this creates uncertainty for all our partners in the region regardless of ownership model and where appropriate, have introduced Catastrophe Pay to provide stability. But this is not enough. Therefore, we are exploring an additional investment up to $10 million into the CUP Fund and other global resources to support our partners with extraordinary needs related to COVID-19. In times of great uncertainty, it becomes so important that we take care of one another and more details on this programme will be shared in the coming week.  

We continue to navigate these uncertain times with flexibility and compassion and will make decisions leading with our Mission and Values. And as this situation evolves, we may make more changes but through it all we will do our best, putting you at the heart of every decision. 

Thank you for everything you are doing and treating each other with kindness.

Proud to be your partner,


thumbnail for The Starbucks Foundation and Alshaya Starbucks are committed to providing humanitarian aid in Gaza 

The Starbucks Foundation and Alshaya Starbucks are committed to providing humanitarian aid in Gaza