Starbucks welcoming to all, CEO Kevin Johnson says

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson told FOX Business on Wednesday the company is committed to creating an environment that is friendly to all.

The Seattle-based coffee chain closed 8,000 company-owned stores for a portion of the day on Tuesday to conduct anti-bias training after the controversial arrest of two African-American men at a Philadelphia Starbucks in April.

The training included employees sharing and discussing real life experiences and listening to experts on racial bias in society.

“It’s one step in a journey and it was a foundational step really anchored on reinforcing the heritage of the company around this concept of the third place,” Johnson told Maria Bartiromo on “Mornings with Maria.” “A place that’s not your home and not your work, but a place that’s a warm, welcoming environment and a sense of belonging for all.”

Johnson added feedback from employees has been “very positive.”

“We are going to weave this into the fabric of how we are operating,” he said. “This training will become a part of all-new hire immersion as well as the work we do to keep it top of mind. By doing this, the outcome is we hope that we create a better customer experience for all customers.”

Earlier this month, Starbucks received some backlash after announcing an open-to-all policy, raising concerns that non-paying customers or homeless individuals might abuse it.

Johnson added that part of the sensitivity training also focused on how to deal with those situations.