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Starbucks coffee stores will close down Tuesday afternoon for a company-wide training session on racial bias following an incident in April involving two African American men at a Philadelphia store.
Here’s what you need to know about today’s store closings and what will be done in the training sessions.
When is it happening?
Tuesday for three hours beginning either at 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. local time.
Why is Starbucks closing Tuesday?
Starbucks will be giving anti-bias training to some 180,000 employees at its 8,000 stores.
Why are they doing this? What happened to prompt it?
The training comes after a confrontation at a Philadelphia Starbucks in April where a store manager called the police on two African-American men sitting in the store waiting to meet a friend. The manager complained that the two men had not purchased anything and had wanted to use the restaurant’s restroom.
The men were arrested by Philadelphia police for trespassing. They were released later, without been charged.
How did that lead to the training?
Starbucks officials apologized and compensated the men following the incident. They then pledged to provide employees with anti-bias training. That is the training taking place Tuesday.
What will the training include?
Not much detail has been released about the training, but it is expected to include messages from executives of the company and from hip-hop artist Common.
Input from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Equal Justice Initiative helped to create the curriculum for the training day, according to officials with the company.
“Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores. After May 29, we will make the curriculum available to the public and share it with the regions as well as our licensed and business partners … May 29 isn’t a solution, it’s a first step,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president, said in a note to the company on May 22.
Here is a video preview of the training released from the company:
Has Starbucks ever suspended business like this before?
Yes, in 2008, the company closed down for several hours one day for training that company officials said was to “enhance the Starbucks’ experience.” Training included ways to interact with customers and re-education in the "art of espresso."
How much will it cost Starbucks to close for three hours?
It will cost the chain an estimated $12 million in lost profit.
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