LOS ANGELES, March 22 (Reuters) - Starbucks Corp co-founder Howard Schultz will host his final shareholder meeting as chief executive officer on Wednesday before Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson takes the helm of the global coffee chain on April 3.
The leadership change comes as Starbucks is revamping U.S. cafe layouts and workflows after a shift to mobile orders led to bottlenecks at drink delivery stations that turned off some walk-in customers in its biggest market.
The company, which nevertheless has been outperforming many of its peers during a prolonged slump for U.S. restaurants, will announce the election of three new board members, preview enhanced mobile ordering features and introduce new salad, sandwich and dessert offerings.
Starbucks’ new directors are Rosalind Brewer, former president and CEO of Sam’s Club; Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chairman of the Lego Brand Group; and Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft Corp.
The company will unveil new voice ordering capabilities being added to certain cars made by Ford Motor Co as part of an ongoing expansion of its digital efforts.
New food items will include Roastery Affogato desserts, which the company is testing at 20 Reserve bar stores and 100 Starbucks cafes in California, and a new Mercato lunch menu of salads and sandwiches that will debut on April 11 in 100 Chicago cafes before being rolled out to other U.S. locations.
After stepping down as CEO, Schultz will become executive chairman in charge of building ultra-premium Reserve stores and showcase Roastery and Tasting Rooms around the world. He also will set the brand’s “social impact agenda,” which includes recruiting veterans, refugees and disadvantaged youths. (Reporting by Lisa Baertlein in Los Angeles; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)