Corporate virtue-signaling may garner lots of media attention and feel really good to liberals to engage in it, but it can also impact a company’s financials.
Case in point: Back in May, a Starbucks manager in a Philadelphia store called the police on two black men after they would not leave the store without making a purchase — which was against then-company policy.
As a result of that incident and the attention it received, Starbucks subsequently made much ado of its planned day of “anti-bias training” later that month, requiring the temporary closure of about 8,000 locations.
Even that day of kumbaya, though, wasn’t enough for the coffee corporation. Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz — who has since stepped down — also contacted Heather McGhee of the equality advocacy group Demos and Sherrilyn Ifill of the NAACP legal defense and education fund for inspiration on more ways the coffee chain could serve up progressive values with some overpriced java.
McGhee and Ifill had several recommendations, including “a top-to-bottom civil rights audit, more resources for employees who encounter customers with mental-health and addiction problems, and the creation of a ‘customer bill of rights’ to be posted at each store,” The Seattle Times reported.
It’s a wonder there’s enough time to actually brew coffee and sell it.
There are now numbers available for the past fiscal quarter: Starbucks said shutting down its stores for a day lowered comparable-store sales by less than 0.5 percent, the Associated Press reported.
Total revenue for the quarter was slightly below estimates, with the company earning $6.23 billion compared to the expected $6.25 billion. The company said it expects its full-year sales growth to be “just below” its previous target of 3 to 5 percent.
“I don’t go to Starbucks. They’re more interested in social justice than customer satisfaction and even safety, letting everyone use their bathrooms.”
For the quarter, the company reported last Thursday a net income of $852.5 million; after adjusting for nonrecurring costs, earnings came to 62 cents per share. The total quarter results did top Wall Street expectations, noted AP, with total sales increasing by 11.5 percent to $6.31 billion, compared to $5.66 billion during the same quarter last year, CNBC reported.
Starbucks says sales grew only 1 percent at established U.S. locations — lower than expectations. It “has also blamed health concerns for slipping Frappuccino sales, though industry analysts have said that increased competition is the reason for the slippage,” as AP noted.
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The number of sales declined, but the amount spent during each visit rose, AP also reported, ostensibly because supporters of the brand spent more inside the locations. Yet the number of visits decreased.
“I was going to a meeting and the person I was meeting suggested Starbucks as a location to get together and talk,” one Murfreesboro, Tennessee, construction manager told LifeZette. “I said, ‘It’s Dunkin’ Donuts or nothing.’ I don’t go to Starbucks. They’re more interested in social justice than customer satisfaction and even safety, letting everyone use their bathrooms.”
He added, “Multiply me by 10,000 other people, and you begin to see a possible problem for the brand.”