On May 29, Starbucks will close 8,000 stores across the nation for a day of racial bias education training following the arrest of two black men in a Philadelphia store last week.
On 5/29, we'll close US company-owned stores to conduct racial-bias training to address implicit bias & prevent discrimination. We're taking a hard look at who we are as a company. We’re ashamed & recognize that racial bias is a problem we must address. https://t.co/xIYc75BJPj
— Starbucks Coffee (@Starbucks) April 17, 2018
Shutting down the store is unheard of for the chain. According to statistics portal Statistica, Starbucks made $23 billion last year in revenue, which means the worldwide coffee franchise brings in $65 million in revenue a day. Most Starbucks stores are open 365 days a year, including Christmas, Thanksgiving and New Years Day.
Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz told Gayle King of CBS This Morning that the company is aware of the millions Starbucks will lose following its shutdown, but that it will pay off as a vital investment. Over 150,000 employees will be trained.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that the reason that the (police) were called was because they were African American,” Schultz said to Gayle. “That’s not who Starbucks is.”
Across Twitter, users expressed mix reactions. While some were proud of Starbucks for being transparent about their employee’s actions, some were upset that they would have to go without making a coffee purchase for 24 hours, and some felt that one day of training wasn’t enough of a lesson for thousands of employees to unlearn racial bias.
Racial bias is learned over a lifetime.
It can’t be unlearned in a training day.
Your intentions are good, Starbucks …
but I’m afraid it’s too little, too latte.
— A Shot of Steve™ ⚡️ (@SteveKoehler22) April 18, 2018
Others took to social media to share black-owned coffee stores customers could visit instead of Starbucks with the hashtag #ReplaceStarbucks.
— Princess (@PrncessTeriLynn) April 18, 2018
If you want a Black-owned coffee-shop alternative to Starbucks in Philly, check Marc Lamont Hill's @UncleBobbies. As a plus it's a bookstore filled with Marxism and the Black Radical Tradition #BoycottStarbucks
— #OperationPUSH (@jaybeware) April 14, 2018
Sage Marie, a coffee roaster based out of Charlotte, NC, tweeted out an advertisement for its shop, saying it accept “all shades,” with several shades of coffee photographed.
— Sage Marie's Coffee (@SageMarieCoffee) April 17, 2018
Lilly Dancyer, editor of long-read website Narratively, summed up the entire situation in her tweet:
White people complaining that Starbucks will be closed for a day to teach employees to be less racist pretty much sums up the white persecution complex problem
— Lilly Dancyger (@lillydancyger) April 20, 2018