Training | Starbucks in shocking service FAIL despite L&D

Starbucks in shocking service FAIL despite L&D

Global coffee chain Starbucks has long touted its ‘extensive’ learning and development programmes, which it stated provides, ‘essential skills and knowledge required to [take a] barista role at Starbucks Coffee Company’.

The L&D schemes have been placed at the ‘heart’ of the brand’s success, which is largely centred around improving customer experience. However, after a recent event in which a Starbucks barista attempted to throw out a homeless customer, despite the fact that the customer had purchased food, the company’s training has been the subject of much media speculation.

The altercation, which took place in a branch in Southend, Essex, was started when a young employee asked a homeless man to leave the premises, despite the fact that he was eating a meal bought for him by another patron.

Despite the chain promising to "treat customers with respect and dignity,” footage of the event recorded by another customer has sparked public outrage as the barista can be heard loudly arguing with other patrons attempting to defend the homeless man.

In the footage, one customer can be heard shouting "let him finish the food and then he can leave!” whilst another stated: "I hope everyone boycotts there very unsympathetic lot! This guy needs an apology and free meal for embarrassing him - we are all human!"

A Starbucks Spokesperson told The Sun: "The interaction on video is not indicative of the environment we strive to create. We are looking into the circumstances surrounding this customer’s experience and will take appropriate action to ensure that our stores remain welcoming places for everyone. We want every customer to have a positive experience, and we apologise that we did not meet that expectation in this instance."

However, this isn’t the first time that the company has come under scrutiny for discriminating against its customers. In September the firm found itself embroiled in a second racism row after an employee asked for a customer’s name but allegedly penned “Isis” on the coffee cup instead - The Guardian reported. The news comes despite company-wide discrimination training which was launched last year after a similar incident occurred. 

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Peeved customer Niquel Johnson told the Washington Post that he ordered his drink on one occasion like he always did using his Islamic name, Aziz, yet the anonymous employee reportedly served his latest set of drinks with the label “Isis” penned on the cup’s exterior. Johnson is now considering taking legal action against the coffee chain.

Johnson said that seeing “Isis” written on his drink made him “shocked and angry”. He added: “I felt it was discrimination.”

Despite this, Starbucks Spokesman Reggie Borges told the Washington Post in a statement: “After investigating, we don’t believe this was a case of discrimination or profiling. The customer approached and provided the name Aziz. The barista mistakenly spelt it incorrectly. We have connected with Mr Johnson and apologised for this regrettable mistake.”

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Comments (1)

  • Boris
    Fri, 11 Oct 2019 1:33pm BST
    While I don't feel that the whole "Isis" incident was a deliberate attempt at racism or profiling it's clear that Starbucks have a serious problem when it comes to communication. Why would this barista ask this person to leave if they hadn't been trained to do it? I stopped going to Starbucks when they refused to supply US troops, as far as I am concerned if they can't do something like that for their own servicemen and women they don't deserve to be supported either.

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