Worldwide coffee retailer Starbucks will officially close 8,000 stores Tuesday, offering anti-bias training to over 175,000 employees just weeks after a manager called the police on two African American men waiting to use the restroom.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz released an official statement to all Starbucks customers Tuesday morning, saying the closures represent a “new chapter” in the history of the company.
“Recently, a Starbucks manager in Philadelphia called the police a few minutes after two black men arrived at a store and sat waiting for a friend. They had not yet purchased anything when the police were called. After police arrived they arrested the two men. The situation was reprehensible and does not represent our company’s mission and enduring values,” writes Schultz.
“After investigating what happened, we determined that insufficient support and training, a company policy that defined customers as paying patrons—versus anyone who enters a store—and bias led to the decision to call the police,” he adds.
The incident prompted the coffee giant to revise their bathroom policy; allowing anyone -including those who haven’t purchased anything- to use the store’s restrooms.
Read the full letter here.