Have you ever needed to use the restroom and, just as you were about to panic, seen a Starbucks sign and dashed inside to use their facilities without purchasing anything?
According to Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz, this may soon be a thing of the past.
Schultz said this week at The New York Times DealBook D.C. policy forum that the company is considering restricting bathroom access to protect its employees’ mental health.
“There is a just, safety concern in our stores, in terms of individuals coming in and using our stores as a public restroom,” he explained. “We have to give our staff a safe place to work.”
Starbucks personnel deal with millions of customers every day, in addition to individuals who come in to use the restrooms, according to Schultz, who said he didn’t know if they’d be able to keep the restrooms available.
According to The New York Times, this is the first time Schultz has addressed the company’s bathroom regulations since returning as interim CEO in April.
Customers who pay would get access to the restroom. This is fortunate, because coffee is a diuretic and a laxative, which means it could cause drinkers to visit the restroom for a variety of reasons. However, according to USA Today, state rules on restaurant bathroom restrictions differ.
If Starbucks restricts restroom access, it will be reversing a decision made in 2018 in the wake of the arrests of two Black men in a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, location. After using the restroom without purchasing anything, the males were reported to the cops.
According to Forbes, when the open-bathroom policy was implemented in May 2018, a research indicated that monthly visits to Starbucks declined 6.8% compared to other adjacent coffee shops.
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The Seattle-based corporation is undergoing a business model transformation, which includes the prospect of limiting bathroom usage. According to Schultz, demand for Starbucks goods has surged since the outbreak, with drive-through orders accounting for half of the company’s revenue.
Starbucks’ previous “third place” strategy emphasised in-person interactions, the utilisation of Wi-Fi, and comfy sofa seating. Lockdown orders made these encounters nearly impossible during the outbreak.
Aside from a new business model, Starbucks has undergone another transformation recently. Some of its employees have begun to form unions, a move that Schultz has opposed.