Starbucks delivers coffee to doctors and nurses in New York City

New York City – Doctors and nurses from all over the country are traveling to New York City to help the city’s hard-hit hospitals overwhelmed by the influx of patients with COVID-19. Many of them are working 12-hour shifts at local hospitals, but with restaurants and Starbucks in the city closed, it can be hard for them to find easy access to coffee and tea.

Last week, Starbucks learned that the doctors and nurses at The New Yorker hotel were in serious need of some coffee. The iconic, art deco hotel in midtown Manhattan that a month ago was full of business travelers and tourists is now home to 400 doctors and nurses. Starbucks partners quickly rallied to answer the call for coffee. Saturday and Sunday mornings, a handful of partners got up at 5 a.m. to make and deliver 35 coffee travelers and pastries to the doctors and nurses at The New Yorker Hotel.

“It was an energy you can’t describe,” said Karisma Branch, an assistant store manager of a nearby Starbucks. “To see them in their scrubs and telling me that they’re from North Carolina and Virginia and they flew up here to help … I couldn’t say thank you enough.”

Store manager Duanys Sano said he was startled at the reception he and the other Starbucks partners received when they arrived with the donation.

“When we walked into the hotel … we had nurses and doctors clapping and applauding us,” Duanys said. “The main purpose was for us to go out there to thank them. But we found ourselves being thanked and honored by the doctors and nurses. That left me speechless.”

Kate McShane, a 20-year partner and regional director, said Starbucks and the staff at The New Yorker Hotel are working hard to make sure the medical workers there have access to coffee. In addition to the donation Saturday and Sunday, Starbucks has sent Keurig machines to the hotel, and has arranged to donate about 7,000 Starbucks K-Cup® pods per week for the doctors and nurses there. In addition, the company will be donating hundreds of cases with bottles of  Frappuccino® chilled coffee drink and cans of Starbucks Tripleshot™ Energy.

Kate said all the Starbucks stores in Manhattan have been closed for more than a week, but Tuesday, the first café reopened across the street from NYU Langone Health in order to serve our front-line responders. The team is working to figure out what other Starbucks locations might reopen, particularly locations near healthcare facilities.

“Staffing isn’t going to be a problem – the partners in this market are tenacious, and even today, we probably have more partners who want to work than we would need to work,” Kate said, adding that the biggest consideration is the safety of partners and customers.

She said coffee represents more than a beverage right now.

“It’s what we’re seeing with most first responders. Obviously, there’s the necessity of staying caffeinated, because the hours they’re working are grueling, but I think there’s more to it than that,” Kate said. “They’re away from their families. Some of them are staying at hotels in the city to support hospitals they’re not even residents at. I think they’re looking for a sense of connection. When our partners connect with doctors and nurses over coffee, even briefly, even from a social distance, it feels like a little piece of home – a sense of normalcy in their every day that they’ve missed.”