Starbucks is set to close more than 8,000 stores across America for racial bias education on the afternoon of 29 May 2018.
The training will be undertaken by 175,000 employees and will become part of training for new employees.
The decision has come after two African-American men were arrested in a Philadelphia store, following a staff member’s police call which led to the arrest of the men who were waiting for a friend.
It is hoped that the training will prevent further incidents of racial discrimination in the company’s stores. The coffee chain will also make the curriculum available to other businesses to use.
Kevin Johnson, CEO at Starbucks, said: “I’ve spent the last few days in Philadelphia with my leadership team listening to the community, learning what we did wrong and the steps we need to take to fix it.
“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. Closing our stores for racial bias training is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”
The curriculum of the course has been developed with advice from several experts and its success will be monitored by those experts to evaluate effectiveness.