Starbucks’ Executive Chairman Howard Schultz announced the company would now make its bathrooms available to everyone, whether they are making a purchase or not, the Washington Post reported.
“We don’t want to become a public bathroom, but we’re going to make the right decision a hundred percent of the time and give people the key,” Schultz said Thursday during a speech at the Atlantic Council in Washington. “Because 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.”
The decision came following the controversy that occurred after officers arrested two black men accused of loitering at a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks last month.
Previously, Schultz said the coffee shop giant had a “loose policy” that permitted paying customers only to access the bathrooms, but each store manager could utilize the policy at their discretion.
The incident embarrassed Starbucks, and it quickly took the blame for the actions made during the Philadelphia incident.
“We were absolutely wrong in every way. The policy and the decision [the store manager] made,” Schultz said. “It’s the company that’s responsible.”
What about the racial-bias training?
Starbucks, as previously announced, will close its U.S. stores for an afternoon of racial-bias training May 29.
“I think it’s fair to say that most people have some level of unconscious bias based on our own life experience,” he said. “So there’s going to be a lot of education about how we all grew up, how we see the world and how we can be better.”
Schultz called it the “largest training of its kind” on “one of the most systemic subjects and issues facing our country.”
The NAACP Legal Defense Fund and others are working with the company to develop the training curriculum, which will be available for other companies to utilize, according to Schultz.
He said the event would launch the beginning of an “entire transformation” of how the company will train its employees.
Filmmaker Stanley Nelson will feature the training in an upcoming documentary, Schultz added. Nelson made the civil rights documentary, “Freedom Riders.”
Schultz said the company has a responsibility to address race issues in America.
Schultz was later awarded the Distinguished Business Leader Award by the Atlantic Council.
Earlier this month, Starbucks and the city of Philadelphia settled with the two men who were arrested.