Critics of Starbuck's move to write 'Race Together' on coffee cups can now once again buy their grande Frappuccinos freely.
On Sunday, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced that baristas would no longer be writing 'Race Together' or placing stickers on coffee cups. Schultz says that this "phase of the effort" had always been planned to wrap up on March 22, after acting as a catalyst for a "broader and longer team conversation."
"While there has been criticism of the initiative -- and I know this hasn't been easy for any of you -- let me assure you that we didn’t expect universal praise," Schultz wrote in his open letter to Starbucks partners on the topic. "The heart of Race Together has always been about humanity: the promise of the American Dream should be available to every person in this country, not just a select few."
Starbucks plans to continue to hold partner open forums and release three more special sections co-produced with USA Today, focusing on race in America, over the course of 2015. The chain also says it plans to hold open dialogues with police and community leaders, expand its store footprint in urban communities and plan new partnerships to foster racial and ethnic dialogue. Additionally, as announced at the annual shareholders' meeting, Starbucks has made a commitment to hire 10,000 disadvantaged youths over the next three years.
Starbucks Race Together initiative came under fire last week, especially the practice of baristas writing "Race Together" on coffee cups. Critics pointed to practical issues of serving customers while fostering complex conversation and unfair pressure places on employees, as well as tone-deaf aspects of the campaign. Hopefully, further Starbucks efforts will take both employee and customer concerns into account, and reveal a more nuanced and productive approach.