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Grocers and restaurants face rising crime

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With rising crime rates, restaurants and grocery stores are overhauling their operations, including changing opening hours and spending more on security.

Some are even closing stores completely, like Starbucks recently announcement that it is closing 16 of its stores in the United States after workers reported facing various challenges and disruptions, including drug-related situations.

Like the Wall Street Journal wrote On Sunday (July 17), reports indicate that more stores are likely to close. Starbucks acting CEO Howard Schultz said while the stores were profitable, the closures were tied to employee safety concerns.

“We’re dealing with things that the stores weren’t built for,” Schultz said, according to the report. “We are listening to our employees and closing stores.”

Schultz added that local governments should do more to fight crime, including helping address mental health issues, to bolster safety efforts.

Starbucks isn’t the only company facing these issues. According to the release, casual dining chain Noodles has experimented with drug use in its bathrooms and has trained its employees on how to respond to such situations.

Meanwhile, supermarket chain Kroger also said there had been an increase in organized theft, which would have put pressure on its profit margins for the first time ever.

The report notes that food establishments and customers have expressed more grievances about increased crime since people started going out more after the 2020 quarantine period.

According to the report, 44% of adults surveyed said they were more afraid of being in public due to the increase in violence. That was an increase from the 36% of adults who said so in March, according to a survey by foodservice research firm Lisa W. Miller & Associates.

In May, PYMNTS wrote that Starbucks was working to shift attention away from onsite spaces to boost digital order fulfillment.

See also: Starbucks is moving from in-store experience to digital efficiency

The coffee chain has more than 34,000 locations worldwide, and at the time, executives said in a call with analysts that the company was considering stepping up its technology investments.

“Going forward, we will … make significant investments to expand our digital capabilities and deepen our digital connection with customers and the emotional connection our customers have for the Starbucks brand,” Schultz said at the time. “The returns on our digital investments are consistently among the highest we generate.”

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