Starbucks takes an afternoon coffee break for racial bias training
People hoping to enjoy a cup of coffee at some Starbucks locations will be met with signs and locked doors on Tuesday afternoon.
Signs greeted customers at the Hixson Starbucks, letting them know they will close at 2:30 p.m.
"I’ve seen the sign on the door right before you walk in on the window,” said customer Daniel Macon.
This location is one of 8,000 stores nationwide closing early, not to focus on coffee, but the people who serve it, training nearly 175,000 employees to combat racial bias.
"The leadership team have been on a mission to listen and learn,” said Kevin Johnson, Starbucks CEO.
The program comes one month after a video showing two black men being arrested at a Philadelphia store. The training will focus on sharing personal stories of bias, promote inclusion, and explore the history of discrimination in America.
"It’s very good, very good because everybody needs it. There’s a lot of real-world racial tensions and everything going on so I think it's real needed,” Macon said.
The curriculum was developed with guidance from the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Anti-Defamation League and the Public Policy Group Demos. Some African American advocacy groups say this is just a PR stunt and is not enough.
"It's good for your cooperation but it doesn't touch any of the problems or even develop a relationship of the people of the dependents of African slaves in the United States,” said Ari Merretazon, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America.
The company says the training is just the beginning.
"We are here to make Starbucks a place where everyone, everyone feels welcome,” Johnson said.
Though some customers were disappointed stores are closing early, others say the training will be beneficial for all.
"It’ll be good for them because it can happen in Philadelphia or it can happen here,” Macon explained.
A company spokesperson says there are 99 Tennessee locations that closed for this training and across the nation; the company estimates they'll lose about 12 million dollars in profits.
The training shutdown is only for Starbucks owned stores, some Starbucks inside of grocery and other retail stores will stay open.
|HWY 153 at Hamill Road||2:30 pm on Tuesday||5:30 am on Wednesday|
|Shallowford & Napier||2:30 pm on Tuesday||4:30 am on Wednesday|
|Gunbarrel Rd at Jarnigan Rd||2:30 pm on Tuesday||5:30 am on Wednesday|
|Brainerd Rd & Belaire||3:00 pm on Tuesday||5:30 am on Wednesday|
|Keith St & 1st St||2:30 pm on Tuesday||5:00 am on Wednesday|
|Paul Huff Parkway & I-75||2:30 pm on Tuesday||5:30 am on Wednesday|
All locations will resume normal business hours on Wednesday.