Business & Real Estate

Need that afternoon caffeine fix? Well, Starbucks is closed Tuesday for implicit bias training, company says

About 8,000 Starbucks stores will close Tuesday afternoon so employees can take implicit bias training, the company said.

In an open letter to customers, Howard Schultz, excutive chairman at Starbucks, said the company-wide training was in response to an April 12 incident in which a Starbucks employee called the police on two black men who were in a Philadelphia store and didn't purchase anything.

"The situation was reprehensible and does not represent our company’s mission and enduring values," Schultz said in the letter. "After investigating what happened, we determined that insufficient support and training, a company policy that defined customers as paying patrons—versus anyone who enters a store—and bias led to the decision to call the police."

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson met the two men and apologized, Schultz said.

The company has since changed its policy. In a tweet Tuesday, the company said any customer is allowed to use Starbuck's restrooms, cafes and patios without making a purchase.

Approximatley 175,000 employees will participate in the training that will involve discussion of racism and discrimination.

Local stores will close at 2:30 p.m. Starbucks stores inside businesses such as Target and Safeway, and at universities and airports will remain open during normal business hours.

A woman in a Starbucks in Walnut Creek, California, was escorted from the premises by police after launching a tirade against two people speaking Korean, in which she said they should stop speaking “oriental.”

Molly Sullivan: 916-321-1176, @SullivanMollyM

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