Treatment of 2 Black men at Philly Starbucks prompts big changes at company

'We're going to make the right decision 100 percent of the time and give people the key.'

Mike Dougherty
May 11, 2018 - 7:48 am
Starbucks Protest

Photo credit: Tim Jimenez

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — After taking full responsibility for the public relations nightmare in Center City Philadelphia that sparked national outrage, Starbucks executives are making some big policy changes as the company tries to bounce back. 

Chairman Howard Schultz says the incident in Rittenhouse Square, in which two black men were denied use of the bathroom then taken away in handcuffs, humbled the company.

"I think it was shocking to us that this could happen in a store, and it was reprehensible," Schultz said. We could not imagine this could happen."

The first major change is that the company will now let anyone use the bathroom, whether they bought something or not. 

"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. We want you to be more than," he said.

On C-SPAN, Schultz outlined the company's plan for a new approach.

"We don't want to become a public bathroom, but we're going to make the right decision 100 percent of the time and give people the key," he said.

The company has put together a sensitivity training program for every single employee, which he says is the largest of its kind on one of the most important issues facing the country.