NEW YORK — Starbucks Corp. will offer delivery at a quarter of its company-owned stores in the United States in the coming months through a new partnership with Uber Eats. The coffee chain anticipates the effort will bring “meaningful and scalable growth to the U.S. operations,” said Rosalind G. Brewer, chief operating officer and group president of Americas.
“Convenience is tied to how customers are consuming today and impacts how they interact with our stores,” Ms. Brewer said during the company’s investor day on Dec. 13 in New York. “Shopping habits are changing, not only in coffee cafes, but our customers expect us to provide a seamless experience, much like what we’re seeing in the omnichannel across all of retail. And this is where delivery comes in.”
Another priority is beverage innovation. Starbucks will roll out nitrogen-infused cold-brew coffee to all U.S. company-operated stores in the coming year. Cold beverages, including iced espresso, cold-brew coffee and Starbucks Refreshers, have contributed to more than 80% of beverage growth over the past two years, Ms. Brewer said.
“And we’re continuing to innovate from our core, testing and learning from our customers to quickly bring new beverages to market,” she added. “For example, this summer, we trialed a few new drinks in Nashville, Tenn.”
A new iced macchiato builds on growth in iced espresso and core macchiato, an approximately $1 billion platform for Starbucks, she said.
“This drink is inspiring our new cloud macchiato and other ingredients that are launching this spring,” Ms. Brewer said. “It’s a great example of how we’re combining our core of forward-looking coffee and innovation with customer insights. We know our customers are loving the cold platform. It allows us to develop authentic, original beverages that keep our customers coming back time and time again.”
Food remains an important opportunity for Starbucks, Ms. Brewer said.
“We promised you that we would be accelerating our food over a 5-year period, out through 2021 to get to a 25% balance of food in our portfolio,” she said. “We’re currently at 22% of our food penetration in our business. But we are a beverage-first business, and our challenge and our opportunity is to drive transactions. And we know, first and foremost, that comes from our beverage offering.”
Over the past year, Starbucks has worked to lay the foundation for its next chapter of growth, said Kevin R. Johnson, president and chief executive officer.
“’Growth at scale’ acknowledges three things,” he said. “First, it acknowledges that Starbucks has grown significantly over our 47-year journey, with 29,000 stores and FY ‘18 revenue of $24.7 billion. We are growing off of a large base.
“No. 2, we acknowledge customer behaviors are shifting rapidly, whether it’s embracing the digital lifestyle, amplifying the need state of convenience, a desire for more premium, personalized experiences or a trend toward more healthy food and beverage choices. This strategy acknowledges we must continue to adapt and adapt rapidly to meet our customers where they are.
“And third, certainly, we acknowledge that the competitive landscape is evolving as many others see a large and growing addressable market around all things coffee, which requires us in the strategy to amplify our competitive differentiators as we capture the next wave of growth.”
Starbucks management reaffirmed its guidance for fiscal year 2019. The company expects to achieve double-digit adjusted earnings-per-share growth, with revenue growth of 7% to 9% and operating income growth of 8% to 10%. Starbucks expects global comparable sales growth of 3% to 4%, led by 3% to 4% growth in its largest market, the United States.
In the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, Starbucks net income was $4,518.3 million, equal to $3.24 per share on the common stock, up 57% from $2,884.7 million, or $1.97 per share, in the previous fiscal year. Total net revenues rose 10% to a record $24,719.5 million from $22,386.8 million.