What's Brewing Inside Starbucks' Racial Bias Training

If you usually go to Starbucks to refresh yourself with an afternoon Frappuccino or a cold brew, you may have trouble finding one that’s open.

That’s because today is the day that Starbucks is closing virtually all of its company owned locations for what a conversation and learning session on race, bias and building diversity for its 179,000 employees.

That means about 8.000 Starbucks are closed today from around one or two o’clock local time through the afternoon for racial bias training.

The plan for the unprecedented company-wide shut-down for the training was decided on after the incident at a Starbucks in Philadelphia a couple of months ago.

That’s where cops were called after two African American men ended up being arrested after Starbucks employees said they were not buying anything and wanted to use the restroom.  They ended up not being charged, the Starbucks CEO apologized and gave the men a financial settlement. 

It also led to Starbucks putting a new policy in effect that allows you to spend time at Starbucks store even if you don’t buy anything and you’re free to use the restrooms whenever you want.

In a company-wide email, Starbucks’ Executive Vice President said, “Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores.”

Time will tell what the impact of today’s training of Starbucks employees may mean, but for their loyal customers, the immediate impact of closing their stores for half of the day may mean discovering how hooked they are on Starbucks when they can’t find one.

(Photo credit Getty Images)

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