The 59 Starbucks locations in San Francisco will be trimmed down later this month, with Starbucks telling managers that they are permanently closing seven SF stores on October 22, adding to the city's vacancy woes.
It was a running joke during the 2000s and 2010s that there were way too many Starbucks coffee shops in San Francisco, and that when you’d go get some Starbucks, you’d run into another Starbucks before you finished your Starbucks. They’ve closed a few since their peak, but according to the San Francisco Business Times, there are currently 59 “company-owned Starbucks stores in San Francisco” (a total that doesn’t include Starbucks locations inside big-box stores like Target or Safeway, as those locations are licensed to other companies).
But there are about to be seven fewer Starbucks in SF. That same Business Times report broke the news Tuesday that Starbucks is closing seven San Francisco stores, with an announced closing date of October 22.
There are obviously still quite a few Starbucks stores in San Francisco, as seen above (a map that does not show all of them). The Starbucks store locator still shows dozens and dozens of Starbucks locations currently operating in San Francisco, some within a block or two of each other, and a very large cluster of them near Union Square and downtown.
And all of the shuttering SF Starbucks are squarely within that cluster. (They’re marked in red on the map above.) Given that office vacancies are way up and foot traffic is struggling to return back to pre-pandemic levels, you can imagine why Starbucks is making this call.
According to an email obtained by the Business Times, Starbucks regional vice president for Northern California Jessica Borton told district managers that there were “several factors” behind the decision to close the shops.
“Determining how and where we invest is done through a standard process of evaluating our store portfolio annually to determine where we can best meet our community and customers’ needs,” Borton’s email continued. “This year those discussions have resulted in making the very difficult decision to close seven of the stores in our area.”
People may jump all over employees’ recent unionization efforts leading to the closures, though as Eater SF points out, neither of the two unionized SF stores (Castro, Inner Sunset) are among the closures. Many SF Starbucks shops’ recently shifted toward removing all of their seating, and that may well have had a negative impact on business. But the likeliest explanation is that those seven Starbucks just weren’t performing well in already saturated areas.
And as Starbucks made a point of telling the Chronicle, they recently opened three new shops in SF, and are investing $2.5 million in renovating other SF locations.
Image: Kevin Y. via Yelp