Starbucks: Computer outage disrupts sales in US, Canada

In this May 31, 2014 photo, a woman holds a coffee drink outside a Starbucks in downtown Chicago. Starbucks is raising prices on some of its drinks by 5 cents to 20 cents starting next week, and customers can also soon expect to pay $1 more for the packaged coffee it sells in supermarkets. Prices for medium and large brewed coffees, which are known as Grande and Venti, respectively, will go up between 10 cents and 15 cents in most U.S. markets, the company said. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

SEATTLE (AP) — A computer outage affecting sales registers disrupted sales Friday at 8,000 company-operated Starbucks stores in the United States and Canada.

Stores that had not already closed for the evening were closed early, the company said Friday evening.

The outage affected 7,000 U.S. stores and 1,000 in Canada, company spokesman Jim Olson said.

“We are actively working to resolve the outage,” Starbucks said in a statement. “We apologize to our customers for any inconvenience or confusion.”

The exact nature of the problem wasn’t immediately made clear.

Earlier, customers found some stores closed and others offering free coffee. In Phoenix, some stores blocked off the entrance to their drive-thrus.

At a Starbucks store in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood, customers were told staff members couldn’t process orders. They were, however, being offered coffee at no charge.

“I’m not going to complain about a free cup of coffee,” said Suveer Sharma, who was getting a caffeine fix before he headed on a weekend trip to Idaho.

At a Starbucks in Phoenix, customers drove away angrily after seeing closed signs.

“I have a sleeping baby in the back and I’m waiting for a prescription,” said Claudia Larson, 40, of Scottsdale. “I wanted a coffee! I’m bummed!”

The outage hit the East Coast in the evening and the West Coast in the late afternoon.

Starbucks is busiest in the mornings but has been trying to attract more customers later in the day.

The company said the outage also affected its Evolution Fresh and Teavana Tea Bar stores.

 

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