Starbucks has announced a new policy stating that anyone is allowed to sit in its cafes and use its restrooms, even if they do not buy anything
In a report by The Guardian, Starbucks said that employees have been told to consider anyone who walks into its stores a customer, "regardless of whether they make a purchase."
Hence, anyone - including non-paying customers - can use its cafes, patios, and restrooms.
Previously, such decisions were left to store managers to decide on whether non-paying customers could sit in stores or use the restrooms
In light of the new policy, the coffee chain added in a company-wide memo that workers should still call the police should a customer behave in a "disruptive manner" or present "an immediate danger or threat" to those within the premises.
Though the new policy is currently only applicable to its US stores, Starbucks said that a different set of guidelines will be issued for international stores
The new policy is put in place after two African-American men were arrested in a Starbucks outlet in Philadelphia for attempting to use the restroom without buying anything over a month ago
On 12 April, two men were waiting for a third person to arrive for a meeting when one of them was denied entry into a restroom because he did not purchase anything. A worker called the police, and both men - Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson - were arrested.
A video of the incident went viral on social media, prompting Starbucks to initiate racial-bias training for its employees and the recently-announced policy.
According to Associated Press, the men reached a settlement with Starbucks earlier this month for an undisclosed sum and an offer of a free college education. They also made a deal with the state for a symbolic USD1 each as well as a promise from city officials to set up a USD200,000 program for young entrepreneurs.
However, some might say that implementing the new policy here could bring about a whole new level of seat-hogging: