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Starbucks closes 8,000 stores to educate employees about racial-bias

Starbucks Coffee will be closing more than 8,000 of its stores in the US on 29 May 2018 to conduct racial-bias education, geared toward preventing discrimination in its stores. The training will be provided to 175,000 of its employees across the country and become part of the on-boarding process for new staff, a statement said.

The training program is geared towards Starbuck’s store and customer experience, addressing issues such as implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, prevent discrimination and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcomed.

The move follows a recent public apology its CEO Kevin Johnson made for the arrest of two black men at one of Starbucks’ cafes, sparking claims of racial profiling. In a statement, Johnson called the arrests “reprehensible” and “wrong”, a Reuters report read. The female Starbucks manager who reported the men has also since exited the company.

The matter prompted Starbucks to conduct a review of its training and practices to make important reforms where necessary to ensure its stores always represent its mission and values. This is by providing a safe and inclusive environment customers and partners. Once the review is complete, the company will also make the education materials available to other companies, including licensee partners.

“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. 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,” Johnson explained.

“The company’s founding values are based on humanity and inclusion. We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer,” Howard Schultz, Starbucks executive chairman, said.

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