Starbucks creates welcoming atmosphere
June 5, 2018
To the dismay of many loyal Starbucks customers, the establishment closed early on Tuesday, May 29. The early closing was to address the recent outcry following the arrest of two black men from one of its locations in Philadelphia, after the men loitered without placing an order back in April.
The early closing started at 2:30 p.m., and re-opened at 5 o’clock the next morning. During this time, all employees of the eight thousand stores that participated discussed how to recognize and avoid racial bias. Workers at each location shared their experiences and watched a film on the topic.
According to CNN, Starbucks seeked the guidance of experts and researchers, including president of the NAACP Sherrilyn Ifill, to develop the curriculum. She and the president of the public policy organization Demos Heather McGee also served as unpaid advisors.
Additionally, Starbucks changed its policies to allow non-paying customers to use the restrooms and spend time in stores. In return, Starbucks asks customers to act in a way that, “maintains a warm and welcoming environment.” Employees have been trained to intervene if customers are disorderly.
Starbucks officials created an outline for employees which lists examples of disruptive behavior, including smoking and drug use in stores. Other disruptions include customers being unreasonably loud or watching any inappropriate content on a smartphone or device.
Employees are instructed to take into consideration if they would be disturbed if the given disruption came from another customer. Furthermore, the burristas are advised to convene with other employees to determine if, in the given scenario, it is appropriate to take action. If so, employees are advised to call the police.
Ifill and McGee assure that they will issue a report which will outline a set of issues that they believe Starbucks should also address. Additionally, they will continue to hold the company to a strict standard and hope that it will implement this anti-bias training into its employee onboarding process.
The company also plans to share these training materials with the public, in hopes that other businesses will follow its lead.