Starbucks said on Tuesday it would close more than 8,000 of its stores in the United States on May 29 to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 employees.
The move comes amid an outcry prompted by the arrests of two African-American men at a Starbucks location in Philadelphia last week.
“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,” Kevin R. Johnson, the company’s chief executive, said in a statement announcing the training.
The two men were arrested after asking to use the restroom in the shop. An employee refused their request, because the men had not bought anything, according to officials. The men sat down and were asked to leave, and an employee eventually called the police. The prosecutor’s office in Philadelphia reviewed the case and declined to pursue charges against the men because of “a lack of evidence that a crime was committed,” according to a spokesman.
The employee who called the police is no longer employed by Starbucks, the company confirmed on Monday.