After two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia Starbucks for refusing to leave the store, the coffee giant will close 8,000 stores for one day of racial bias training.
The stores will be shut down for the afternoon of May 29, 2018, the company said in a press release. Also, its corporate offices will also be closed during that time. During the closure, approximately 175,000 employees will undergo racial-bias 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,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson stated in a release. “While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution.”
This is a critical time for the coffee giant, as brand reputation experts claim the company has a small window of time to deescalate public outrage.
“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,” said Johnson.
The two men, whose identities have not been disclosed, were placed under arrest last Thursday (April 12) when a Philadelphia Starbucks store manager called 911. The men had been sitting in the store while waiting on a friend and hadn’t ordered — common behavior inside all Starbucks — when police arrived.
Johnson has met privately with the two men, and has apologized to them, promising changes at the company.
The store manager who called police is, reportedly, no longer with the company.