The term DumpStarbucks, or #DumpStarbucks, was seen spiking on social media Saturday after a barista at a Tempe, Ariz., Starbucks asked local law enforcement to leave an area store on Thursday because a customer felt uncomfortable — ultimately, drawing an apology from an executive at the coffee giant.
Six police officers on the Fourth of July were urged to vacate a Starbucks at Scottsdale Road in Tempe by an employee because a customer “did not feel safe,” according to several news outlets and an account by the local police association.
In response, the Tempe Officers Association submitted the following via Twitter on July 5: “Don’t appreciate @Starbucks asking our #Tempe cops to leave your establishment on the #4thofjuly2019. Several of those cops are #veterans who fought for this country! #ZeroRespect”
In a series of subsequent tweets, the TOA said a Starbucks Corp.
employee, “asked the officers to move out of the customer’s line of sight or to leave,” and explained the incident thusly:
A Starbucks spokesman referred MarketWatch to a letter of apology from Rossann Williams, executive vice president of U.S. retail Starbucks Coffee Company dated Saturday, which was addressed to Tempe Chief of Police Sylvia Moir: “On behalf of Starbucks, I want to sincerely apologize to you all for the experience that six of your officers had in our store on July 4,” the letter starts.
Here’s the full contents of the apology which also appears on a Starbucks news blog:
Dear Chief Moir and the entire Tempe Police Department,
Thank you, Chief Moir, for the conversation today. On behalf of Starbucks, I want to sincerely apologize to you all for the experience that six of your officers had in our store on July 4.
When those officers entered the store and a customer raised a concern over their presence, they should have been welcomed and treated with dignity and the utmost respect by our partners (employees). Instead, they were made to feel unwelcome and disrespected, which is completely unacceptable.
At Starbucks, we have deep appreciation for your department and the officers who serve the Tempe community. Our partners rely on your service and welcome your presence, which keeps our stores and the community a safe and welcoming place.
Our strong relationship with the Tempe Police Department has provided us the opportunity to host several “Coffee with a Cop” events in area stores, which bring residents and police together to discuss relevant issues and find common ground. We look forward to continuing to strengthen our relationship with you, and we agree that the experience of your officers requires an important dialogue – one that we are committed to being part of.
What occurred in our store on July 4 is never the experience your officers or any customer should have, and at Starbucks, we are already taking the necessary steps to ensure this doesn’t happen again in the future.
I will be in Tempe this evening and welcome the opportunity to meet with any of you in person to address concerns or questions.
The episode comes more than a year after Starbucks’s shut down some 8,000 stores to conduct antibias training. The closures were prompted at least partly by a viral video of two black men, Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson, being handcuffed and removed by at least six police officers from a Philadelphia Starbucks. The men said they were waiting for a business associate and were in their right to remain at the coffee vendor.
The antibias training in May of 2018 was intended to help staffers at stores clarify how baristas and managers interact with all would-be customers.
About 175,000 employees at Starbucks stores and at its headquarters received paid training that focused on “understanding prejudice and the history of public accommodations in the United States,” according to CEO Kevin Johnson.
The July 4 incident with police has elicited a range of reactions on Twitter from those supporting area law enforcement to those applauding the barista:
Here’s one tweet supporting the officers:
Here’s another tweet referencing the April incident where the pair of black men were handcuffed:
Shares of Starbucks have been on a tear lately, rising 36% so far this year and handily outperforming the broader market, according to FactSet data as of Friday’s close.
By comparison, the Dow Jones Industrial Average
has gained 15.4% so far in 2019, the S&P 500 index
has climbed 19.3% in the year to date, and the Nasdaq Composite Index
has advanced 23% over the same period.