Starbucks revealed a new policy on Saturday that allows non-paying customers to sit in their cafes and use their bathrooms. The announcement comes a little over a month after two black men were arrested at a Starbucks in Philadelphia when they sat inside the store without ordering anything.
The Associated Press reports that company executives saw their previous policies as being “loose and ambiguous,” allowing store managers to determine who they want to sit in their cafes and use their bathrooms. As part of their new policy, Starbucks employees are expected to consider anyone who walks into their stores as a customer, “regardless of whether they make a purchase.”
Starbucks employees are still encouraged to call authorities if they believe that a customer, paying or non-paying, is a safety threat. “We are committed to creating a culture of warmth and belonging where everyone is welcome,” Starbucks said in a statement. Starbucks plans to close more than 8,000 of its U.S. stores in the afternoon of May 29 to conduct racial-bias training for its employees.
Following the much-publicized April 12 arrest of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson as they waited for a third person for a meeting, Starbucks vowed to take a closer look at their previous policy. The two men settled with Starbucks for an undisclosed amount of money, and reached an agreement with the city of Philadelphia for $1, but more importantly, a promise to donate $200,000 towards a program for young entrepreneurs.