Starbucks Corp (SBUX) said on Tuesday, April 17, that it will close all 8,000 of its company-owned stores in the U.S. on May 29 to train employees in an effort to prevent racial discrimination in its stores. This action comes in the aftermath of the arrest on April 12 of two black men who were sitting in a Philadelphia store.
A Starbucks employee called the local police about the two men. The police arrested and cuffed the men, and the event was filmed and went viral on social media. It was followed by a "Boycott Starbucks" move and a public apology from CEO Kevin Johnson, including a face-to-face meeting with the men.
On the afternoon of May 29, some 175,000 Starbucks employees in 8,000 U.S. stores will undergo the training to address "implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion and prevent discrimination," according to the company. This message now becomes part of new-hire training.
"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," said Kevin Johnson in a statement. "While this is not limited to Starbucks, we're committed to being a part of the solution. 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."