On April 17, Starbucks announced it would close more than 8,000 stores and its corporate offices on May 29 for a company-wide racial-bias training. The announcement comes amid public outrage over the arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend at a Philadelphia Starbucks last Thursday.
About 175,000 Starbucks employees will receive the anti-bias training, which will be designed with help from legal and civil rights experts including former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sherrilyn Ifill, the president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO of the Anti-Defamation League.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement. He met with the two men on Monday to apologize for their mistreatment. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution,” he added.
“Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
Starbucks denounced the incident as “reprehensible” and also revealed that the manager who called the police is no longer working at that store. Starbucks’ swift, sweeping steps will be appreciated by many consumers as 85% of Americans say it is personally very and somewhat important to them that companies work to truly make a difference on racial equality, according to The Harris Poll’s 2018 Reputation Quotient study.