Yesterday, on Squawk Box, Andy weighed in on the closure of 8,000 Starbucks locations to conduct anti-bias employee training on the heels of last month’s public arrest of two Philadelphia African American men waiting at a local Starbucks establishment for a business meeting.
“They want people to know that they’re very concerned about these issues and I think that’s a positive thing, ” said Andy. “You certainly don’t want to be known as a place that racially discriminates, and I think the management at Starbucks sincerely believes in this.”
Andy also stresses that Howard Schultz’s (the company’s chairman) new policy which permits anyone to use Starbucks restrooms without making a purchase may have taken things too far, and could affect the desired ambiance of the business which ultimately draws in customers.
In closing, Andy relates the discussion to a chapter in his new book. “Most CEOs want to keep their company neutral – neither for or against social or political issues or parties because they don’t want to alienate people on either side, which is particularly true with national companies like Starbucks,” Andy notes. “We should do all we can to eliminate racial bias, but as a CEO, you don’t want to get too involved on either side when it comes to these various social issues.”
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