One day after Starbucks announced the closure of 16 profitable locations in major cities due to dangerous incidents related to drug use and 'other disruptions' in cafes, a leaked video of interim CEO Howard Schultz warning of 'more' store closures was posted to Twitter.
"This is just the beginning. There will be more," said Schultz during an internal meeting in which he acknowledged concerns over employee safety, adding "Then we heard the stories that go along with it about what’s going on in our bathrooms. The subject of mental illness, homelessness issues and crime issues."
Schultz added that the US "has become unsafe" and that Starbucks is a "window to America."
Schultz blamed elected leaders of the Democrat cities where the stores are closing "at the local state and federal level, these governments... and leaders, mayors & governors & city councils have advocated their responsibility in fighting crime & addressing mental illness. pic.twitter.com/M8vTJgchCE— Ari Hoffman (@thehoffather) July 13, 2022
According to Business Insider, Starbucks confirmed the authenticity of the footage, but would not say when it was from.
Last week Starbucks announced that it would be permanently closing six stores each in Seattle and Los Angeles, as well as two in Portland, OR, and single locations in Philadelphia and Washington DC by the end of the month.
The move comes after workers reported incidents involving drug use by customers and members of the public - which, logically, comes after the company's 2018 virtue signaling campaign which eventually included the installation of needle deposit boxes at various locations after employees signed a petition demanding the company do more to protect them.
"We read every incident report you file—it’s a lot," wrote operations leads Debbie Stroud and Denise Nelson in a message to U.S. employees Monday. "We cannot serve as partners if we don’t first feel safe at work." (Starbucks refers to its employees as 'partners')
Starbucks also said that it would give store managers leeway to close restrooms, limit seating or reduce operations in response to safety concerns. The moves are part of policies aimed at addressing workers’ concerns, including about their safety on the job, the company said.
Managers can continue to change store layouts if needed, including limiting seating to customers, the spokeswoman said. The company said it would provide additional guidance to baristas in how to deal with active shooter scenarios and conflict de-escalation at work. -WSJ
Last month, Schultz told the NYTimes that increasing threats to public safety and an expanding mental health crisis have made it challenging for employees to manage stores under open bathroom policies. He said the decision was an "issue of just safety."