Local Starbucks leaders can close stores, reduce hours if necessary amid looting

Starbucks stores in several cities, including Seattle, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, were looted or damaged in recent days.

Starbucks is using a localized approach to adjust store operations and protect employees in cities where peaceful protests related to the death of George Floyd were accompanied by instances of looting or the destruction of local businesses.

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Starbucks stores in several cities, including Seattle, Los Angeles and Philadelphia, were looted or damaged in recent days. Unlike companies that have made decisions on whether to close stores or limit hours at the C-suite level, Starbucks has given regional “field leaders” the authority to determine how stores should operate on a case-by-case basis.

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“We empower our field leaders to make the best decision for their particular stores that will keep our partners and customers safe,” a Starbucks spokesperson told FOX Business. “That includes limiting hours or closing certain stores for a period of time.”

A Starbucks store burns during a protest on Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Philadelphia, over the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being taken into police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after an officer pressed his knee into his neck (Associated Press)

Starbucks did not specify how many stores have adjusted hours or temporarily closed as a precautionary measure. A number of Starbucks stores were closed last Saturday for the safety of workers after some locations were damaged, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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The decentralized decision-making process is common practice for Starbucks. The coffeehouse chain has employed a similar method to guide efforts to reopen its stores as the U.S. recovers from the coronavirus pandemic. The field leaders made decisions based on community response, discussions with store managers and guidance from local authorities.

A cinder block is framed by a broken window in a downtown Pittsburgh Starbucks store on Sunday, May 31, 2020 after a night of unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd, a black man who was in police custody in Minneapolis. Floyd died after b (Associated Press)

Peaceful protests against police brutality occurred across the country after Floyd, 46, died while in Minneapolis police custody last week. A white police officer, Derek Chauvin, was caught on video kneeling on Floyd’s neck for several minutes until he became unresponsive. Chauvin and three other officers involved in the incident face criminal charges.

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“We will confront racism to create a more inclusive and just world,” Starbucks said in a social media post on June 1. “We stand in solidarity with our black partners, customers and communities. We will not be bystanders.”

The protests have turned violent as looters targeted storefronts for small businesses and corporate brands alike. Several companies opted to preemptively shut down stores in cities where violence has occurred, even as executives express support for peaceful protests and an end to racism.

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Target temporarily closed or reduced hours at 200 stores, many of which are located in Minnesota. Whole Foods said its stores would close early in cities affected by curfews after locations in Los Angeles and Dallas were looted.

Other companies that temporarily closed some store locations included Walmart and McDonald’s.

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