Starbucks Corporation: Fighting Racial Bias
In April 2018, two black customers were arrested at a Starbucks Corporation (Starbucks) outlet in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after one of the two men asked to use the restroom while the pair were waiting to meet someone. After a video of the arrest went viral on social media, Kevin Johnson, the chief executive officer of Starbucks, immediately apologized to the men and, further, announced that the company would hold racial bias training across all Starbucks stores in the United States. Johnson was criticized for the presumption that a half-day training session could possibly resolve racial bias issues. Employees also expressed their dissatisfaction with the training program. Johnson also announced an open-toilets policy, which was also criticized, raising several questions: Had Johnson managed the crisis appropriately? How could he make such training effective? Should Johnson change his open-toilets policy? Should he reconsider his decision to conduct such training at the cost of future revenues? Arpita Agnihotri is affiliated with Pennsylvania State University - Harrisburg. Saurabh Bhattacharya is affiliated with Newcastle University.