Starbucks signed a US$7 billion licensing deal with Nestle earlier this month that banks on the power of its brand in the United States to strengthen the Swiss company's leading position globally.
Starbucks' decision to shut down 8,000 stores nationwide to train employees in recognizing human prejudices led those in need elsewhere - to places like the Coffee House - for their afternoon jolt of caffeine. Other solutions include: creating special recruitment programs where companies encourage minority groups to apply for jobs; establishing mentoring programs where managers interact with their employees, who are often minorities; and creating diversity task forces that identify problems within companies and find ways to solve them. It's not Starbucks the corporation.
"It's quite expensive", Schultz said Tuesday. "We view it as an investment in our people and the long-term cultural values of Starbucks".
Strangely, it was only 2:30 p.m. but the Starbucks was already closed.
Ruffin, who is black, said everyone in her group said they first experienced bias in middle school. "They have the money, and the wherewithal that they can make a difference in African American life", said James Abram.
Here's what we know about the company's strategy - and whether these kinds of training are effective.
"I think it's important to address the issue", she added. Materials from these training sessions will also be used in on-boarding processes for new employees, he said. What works better, he says, is more diverse hiring at the management level. Co-owners Bob Logue, who's white, and Christian Dennis, who's black and has been incarcerated himself, explain to NBC that they've seen the other side of the racial-bias equation here: For the past year, they've made a point to hire people recently released from prison.
Employees will also be paid for the training.
Schultz has said he was "embarrassed" and "ashamed" by the arrests of 23-year-olds Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson at the Philadelphia location. They were later arrested for trespassing. The incident was recorded by cellphones and went viral. It proved a major embarrassment for Starbucks, which has long cast itself as a company with a social conscience.
Starbucks reached an undisclosed settlement with the men who were arrested, and offered them a free college education. Robinson and Nelson later settled with the city for $1 each with the promise that the city would fund a $200,000 scholarship for young entrepreneurs.
Columbia resident Natasha Hornes said she recently had an unpleasant experience at the Starbucks on Broadway.
Starbucks has since announced anyone can use its restrooms even if they are not buying anything.
"You want to patronize a business that treats its employees and customers well". She said that should happen only when there is a provocation or danger.
Starbucks expected 175,000 employees to undergo the training, which focused on recognizing racial bias. So far, all three such new employees are black; since bringing them aboard, Logue and Dennis claim half of their customers have left, even though the food and beverage quality hasn't suffered.
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