Washington D.C. [U.S.A.], May 22 (ANI): In a bid to dissuade the recently received bad press, Starbucks has come up with a unique business policy - Open for all.
In an official letter sent to its employees on Saturday, Starbucks spelled out, "Any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes, and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer", according to USA Today.
The gist of the policy is that one doesn't need to make a purchase to use their restrooms.
In a statement shared with USA Today, the company indicated, "When using a Starbucks space, we respectfully request that customers behave in a manner that maintains a warm and welcoming environment by - Using spaces as intended, Being considerate of others, Communicating with respect, Acting responsibly."
Furthermore, employees were directed to follow the norm in situation of imminent danger or safety concerns, i.e to call 911.
However, the change in the business model is garnering some flak.
A user took to Reddit and shared the concerns, "This is exactly the kind of behavior that I fear will drive all the regular customers away, at least from urban locations. Opposing racism is nice and all, but it is not the responsibility of Starbucks to resolve all urban problems at one location let alone turn its stores into homeless drop-in centers. The fact that police had to request a policy before kicking out someone who was yelling and fighting with customers, punching walls, and occupying the bathroom to eat noodles shows just how big the problem is. At least the police can cover themselves: that's why they checked company before doing anything. It sounds like Starbucks managers don't have that kind of discretion when dealing with disruptive individuals. Starbucks corporate needs to wake up."
Going on the same lines, another user wrote, "This really is a blanket pr driven policy change, it's really hard to believe they didn't think it would have a negative impact. Depending on your areas demographic, a store essentially turns into a homeless shelter as now partners are too afraid to step up and maintain the third place atmosphere. It's only a matter of time until they have us learn to dispense NARCAN."
"Many Starbucks restrooms were already terrible because of lax policies before. I can't imagine how they will be now. Have you seen the size of the homeless population in most major cities? They need more policing of public loitering not less. Some Police simply need the right training so that they can enforce disturbing the peace and public loitering laws with tact and professionalism", wrote another concerned customer.
One Reddit user posted, "Starbucks employees, what do you feel about the new corporate policies on sitting without ordering and bathroom use by non-customers? Do they encourage freeloaders or put employees at risk?".
Starbucks employees, what do you feel about the new corporate policies on sitting without ordering and bathroom use by non-customers? Do they encourage freeloaders or put employees at risk? from r/starbucks
Another user posted, " I don't like how the liability has been shifted to 9-11 $/hr partners. Not cool. I agree, this really gets to me even though I'm not an employee, just a customer. As you say I can't see how this will work in urban areas with large homeless/mentally ill populations. Perhaps Starbucks plans to pull out of these locations. I just worry about how many employees will be put in danger (or get fired) until this happens. I hope these questions are brought up during the special training on May 29th."
The change in business model came in the wake of some incidents where the American coffee chain was accused of racism and snobbery.
In April, two males of African descent were arrested when they asked to use the washroom. The duo was present at the Philadelphia Starbucks for a business meeting, as confirmed by their business liaison, a white male. The video of the whole ordeal went viral and sparked outrage globally.
More recently, a racial slur was penned down alongside a Latino customer's name at a Starbucks in suburbs of Los Angeles.
In response to such events, Starbucks has decided to shut down over 8,000 company owned stores across US for a couple of hours so that the employees could receive intensive, anti-bias training. (ANI)