Starbucks bathroom rules: no sleeping, drugs, disruptions

Starbucks wants people to know: Just because folks can now use its bathrooms without buying anything does not give all carte blanche to disrupt others.

Or, as Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz recently told the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C.: “We don’t want to become a public bathroom.”

Still, the coffee chain is going to run that risk, in light of its new policy of opening its space to all, whether paying customers or not. 

“We’re going to make the right decision 100 percent of the time and give people the (bathroom) key,” said Schultz, discussing rules that took effect during the weekend.

A company spokesperson further clarified to CBS News on Monday: “The key piece here is that we are asking customers that when using a Starbucks space, we respectfully request they behave in a manner that maintains a warm and welcoming environment by using spaces as intended, being considerate of others, communicating with respect [and] acting responsibly.”

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that Starbucks has offered employees “detailed instructions on what to do if someone is behaving in a disruptive manner. It said disruptive behaviors include smoking, drug or alcohol use, improper use of restrooms and sleeping.”  

The new rules come more than a month after a manager at a Philadelphia Starbucks called the police on two young black men, one or both of whom asked to use the washroom but had not purchased anything. 

After a public backlash that included protests, boycotts and accusations of racism, Starbucks said it would close more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. next Tuesday for racial-bias training for its almost 175,000 employees. Schultz recently told “CBS This Morning” the manager in Philadelphia, who is no longer employed by Starbucks, was likely acting on her own “unconscious bias.” 

Starbucks last week apologized after a customer at a store in California found a derogatory term for Mexicans printed on his coffee drink.

Still, the company’s new policy includes instructions for employees to call 911 if they feel someone is a safety threat, and adds that customers can be banned from Starbucks stores if they’re disruptive.

The policy includes a stipulation that spaces be used “as intended,” which could rule out some of the behavior that prompted some Starbucks employees in New York to lock bathroom doors during a short-lived revolt in 2011 as a worker protest against having to clean up after people who left bathrooms a mess. 

In recent years, Starbucks largely left bathroom policies to individual locations.

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