If you need a Blonde Iced Cappuccino or some other afternoon pick-me-up from Starbucks on Tuesday, you may have to go out of your way to get it.
The national coffee company is closing all 8,000-plus company-operated stores across the U.S. — including more than 50 in Utah — for employee training on how to recognize and prevent racial bias.
Licensed stores — like those in grocery stores, hotels, universities or airports — are expected to remain open, company officials said.
The closure affects some 175,000 employees — called partners — nationwide.
“While exact timing may vary from store to store, customers should expect stores to close beginning at 2 p.m. local time,” a Starbucks spokeswoman told The Salt Lake Tribune in an email.
In April, Starbucks was accused of racism after two men were arrested in a Philadelphia store for asking to use the restroom.
According to eyewitness reports, an employee refused the request because the men had not purchased anything. After the men sat down and were asked to leave, an employee eventually called the police.
The incident was recorded in a video that went viral on social media.
Last week, Starbucks shared a preview of the curriculum on its website.
It is considered a “first step” toward “educating ourselves on understanding bias and how it affects our lives and the lives of the people we encounter and serve,” Rossann Williams, Starbucks executive vice president for U.S. retail, said in a statement.
“Our hope is that these learning sessions and discussions will make a difference within and beyond our stores.”
Each store received a tool kit to help guide store discussions. Workers also are expected to watch a new, original film by award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson, who has more than 20 years’ experience as a producer, director and writer of documentary films and videos examining African-American history, the company said.
Many researchers and social scientists have provided their expertise for the training, including Bryan Stevenson, founder and executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative; Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund; and Heather McGhee, president of Demos.
Clarification: This story has been updated to include an approximate closing time for Utah stores.