(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp <SBUX.O> said on Thursday it is partnering with UberEats to deliver food and coffee from nearly a quarter of its restaurants in the U.S. and will nearly double its outlets in China over the next four years.
The latest delivery initiative, which will commence from the beginning of 2019, builds on a pilot program launched in Miami in September, the company said.
Starbucks has been struggling to lure diners to its restaurants as it faces severe competition from smaller coffee chains that offer exotic coffees as well as fresh food.
The company said last month it was partnering with UberEats to deliver coffee and food in Tokyo, as part of its plan to boost sales in Japan, one of its major Asia-Pacific markets.
The Seattle, Washington-based coffee chain, which owns about 14,000 restaurants in the U.S., has been revamping its owned and licensed businesses, closing Teavana stores, laying off workers and adding new food and drinks to its menu.
The company also said on Thursday it would raise its store footprint in China, its fastest growing market, to 6,000 stores across 230 cities over the next four years, up from 3,600 stores in 150 cities.
Starbucks has partnered with Alibaba Group Holding Ltd <BABA.N> earlier this year for delivering food and coffee in China, as it looks to compete with local coffee chains.
(Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by James Emmanuel)