Starbucks Made A Big Show Over Their ‘Inclusive’ Bathroom Policy. Now They’re Regretting It

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Starbucks is reportedly planning on scrapping their bathroom policy that allowed access to non-customers due to “safety” concerns.

Chief Executive Howard Schultz said Thursday while speaking at The Time’s DealBook D.C. policy forum that the company may rescind it’s open bathroom policy because of a growing mental health problem, The New York Times (NYT) reported. Schultz reportedly said it was an “issue of just safety.”

“We have to harden our stores and provide safety for our people,” Schultz reportedly said. “I don’t know if we can keep our bathrooms open.” (RELATED: Why The New Starbucks Bathroom Policy Is A STEAMING CUP OF FAIL – From A Former Employee’s Perspective)

Starbucks began allowing non-customers to use their restrooms after two black men were arrested inside of a Philadelphia store in 2018. A Starbucks employee alerted authorities to the two men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, after they were denied use of the store’s bathroom and were asked to leave. The men were meeting Andrew Yaffe, a white man, for business purposes, according to the NYT. In video footage of they arrest Yaffe could be heard asking why police were called.

“What did they get called for?” Yaffe asked. “Because there are two black guys sitting here meeting me?”

The company released a statement shortly after the incident that “any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase,” according to the NYT.

“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,'” Schultz said in 2018, according to the NYT. “We want you to be ‘more than.'”

Following the implementation of the policy, a study found the policy was actually reducing the number of customer visits. Researchers from the University of Texas and Boston College found visits to Starbucks dropped 6.8% compared to rivals, according to CBS News.

Starbucks said the study was “inaccurate” and said “business has never been better,” according to CBS .

“The findings of this company-backed study are not only inaccurate, but do not take into account the habits and purchasing behaviors of our more than 100 million weekly customers,” a Starbucks spokesperson said at the time, CBS reported.