Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores nationwide Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training, the next of many steps the company is taking in an effort to restore its tarnished diversity-friendly image.
The coffee chain’s leaders reached out to bias training experts after the arrest of two black men at a Philadelphia Starbucks last month.
The company’s closure of its chains and corporate offices will also eat into its bottom line – costing it $12million of lost revenue, according to USA Today.
The plan has brought attention to the little-known world of ‘unconscious bias training’ used by corporations, police departments and other organizations.
It’s designed to get people to open up about implicit biases and stereotypes in encountering people of color, gender or other identities.
A video previewing the training says it will include recorded remarks from Starbucks executives as well as rapper and activist Common.
Starbucks will close more than 8,000 stores nationwide Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training. Protesters are seen outside a Philadelphia Starbucks where two black men were arrested
From there, the company says, its 175,000 employees in the U.S. will ‘move into a real and honest exploration of bias.’
The training will take place weeks after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia store after one asked to use the bathroom before he had made a purchase.
Donte Robinson and his friend Rashon Nelson, both 23, had been waiting for a potential business partner to discuss real estate development when one of the men asked to use the bathroom and was knocked back.
Minutes after the pair had sat down at the coffee shop, the manager called the police and had Robinson and Nelson arrested.
Donte Robinson (right) and his friend Rashon Nelson (left), both 23, had been waiting for a potential business partner to discuss real estate development when one of the men asked to use the bathroom and was knocked back
Video of their arrests went viral and caused a huge backlash towards the company, prompting CEO Kevin Johnson to fly to Philadelphia to personally apologize to both men.
The manager who called police was also fired.
The incident also led Starbucks to introduce a new policy whereby the chain will allow people to sit in its cafes and use its bathrooms – even if they don’t buy anything.
Starbucks executives have said its previous policies were loose and ambiguous, leaving decisions on whether people could sit in its stores or use the restroom up to store managers.
But after that policy was announced, customers and employees complained that it would invite homeless people and drug users into its facilities while also taking up seats that should be filled by paying customers.
Video of their arrests went viral and caused a huge backlash towards the company, prompting CEO Kevin Johnson to fly to Philadelphia to personally apologize to both men
The company has told its managers that they will have the right to remove anyone who sleeps or uses drugs in their chains, according to The Wall Street Journal.
‘We want our stores to be the third place, a warm and welcoming environment where customers can gather and connect,’ the company said in a statement.
‘When using a Starbucks space, we respectfully request that customers behave in a manner that maintains a warm and welcoming environment by: using spaces as intended, being considerate of others, communicating with respect [and] acting responsibly.’
Starbucks chain managers will have discretion to call the police if they sense that there is ‘immediate danger’.