Starbucks has announced that they will be opening up their bathrooms to all users – customers and non-customers alike. A new bathroom policy says that even those who don’t purchase anything at the restaurants can use their facilities.
“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision 100% of the time and give people the key, because we don’t want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are less than,” Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz said in a statement at the Atlantic Council this week.
“You should be able to use the bathroom if you buy something. And it’s really the judgment of the manager.”
The change comes in the wake of an incident in which two young African-American men were arrested after asking to use the restroom at a Philadelphia Starbucks. The two men did not buy anything and sat in the restaurant. The store manager called the police after asking them to leave.
Video of the arrest sparked outrage and protests of the Seattle-based restaurant chain after going viral.
“The video shot by customers is very hard to watch and the actions in it are not representative of our Starbucks Mission and Values. Creating an environment that is both safe and welcoming for everyone is paramount for every store,” Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said in a statement in the wake of the incident.
“Regretfully, our practices and training led to a bad outcome — the basis for the call to the Philadelphia police department was wrong,” Johnson continued. “Our store manager never intended for these men to be arrested and this should never have escalated as it did.”
“The company, the management and me personally — not the store manager — are culpable and responsible. And we’re the ones to blame,” Schultz said Thursday. “We were absolutely wrong in every way. The policy and the decision she made, but it’s the company that’s responsible.”
The company plans on closing all 8,000 of its locations on the afternoon of May 29 for racial-sensitivity training. The sessions will be “the beginning, not the end of an entire transformation of our training at Starbucks,” Schultz said.