Starbucks is closing all 8,000 company-owned stores for an afternoon next month to conduct racial-bias training to prevent discrimination, the company announced Tuesday.
The news comes after days of criticism following the arrest of two black men at a store in Philadelphia on Thursday. The men were reportedly waiting for a friend, but a store employee told police they were trespassing.
On May 29, nearly 175,000 store employees will receive training designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion and prevent discrimination, according to a news release.
“I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson. “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.”
The training will become part of the onboarding process for new hires, according to the release. The company is reviewing all of its training to provide a “safe and inclusive environment for our customers and partners,” and plans to share its education materials with other companies for use with their employees and leadership.
The founding values at Starbucks are based on humanity and inclusion, said executive chairman Howard Schultz. “We will learn from our mistakes and reaffirm our commitment to creating a safe and welcoming environment for every customer.”