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Starbucks opens its first cashierless location in New York City, in collaboration with Amazon Go

Starbucks and Amazon have teamed up on a grab-and-go store format. The Seattle-based companies opened their first Starbucks Pickup with Amazon Go location on Thursday in New York, with at least two more New York stores planned for next year.

The new cashierless location in midtown Manhattan comes amid an uneven economic recovery including a shortage of workers at many restaurants and retailers as a direct result of the pandemic.

The store, on East 59th Street between Park and Lexington avenues, offers the full Starbucks menu as well as prepared salads, sandwiches and snacks from Amazon Go. There is also a lounge area with tables and workspaces.

Customers can order drinks and food using the Starbucks app or shop the Amazon Go section, which automatically tallies items added to a customer's cart so customers don't have to wait in line to check out.

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Lounge area with tables and workspaces at the new Starbucks Pickup location on 59th Street between Park and Lexington avenues in New York. Starbucks

The effort is part of a larger shift in store formats for Starbucks. Last year, the company announced it was accelerating a plan to close 400 underperforming stores and replace them with smaller pickup locations or stores focused on curbside or drive-thru service. Even before the pandemic, Starbucks said 80% of its U.S. customer transactions were on-the-go orders.

Amazon, meanwhile, has been expanding its physical presence. The company began opening Amazon Go stores in 2018; it now has more than 20 in Seattle, Chicago, San Francisco and New York. The company also opened a larger Amazon Go grocery store in Seattle last year.

Last month, workers at three Starbucks coffee shops in the Buffalo area who are unionizing won a preliminary victory before the National Labor Relations Board, which gave the go-ahead for them to vote on union representation after filing petitions in August. Employees at the stores told the New York Times they want to address chronic problems such as understaffing, unpredictable scheduling and insufficient training.

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