Coffee chain Starbucks is to close more than 8,000 company-owned branches in the USA for an afternoon next month to carry out “racial bias” training.
The goal is to prevent discrimination in the Starbucks stores.
The move comes after the firm has had to apologize last week with the arrest of two black men who were waiting for a friend in a Starbucks in Philadelphia.
Starbucks’ boss said that he was “learning what we did wrong and the steps that we need to solve the problem”.
Chief executive Kevin Johnson said that he had spent the last few days in Philadelphia.
“While this is not limited to Starbucks, we’re committed to being a part of the solution. At the end of the shops to the racial prejudices of training is only one step in a journey which requires commitment from every level of our society and partnership in our local communities,” he said.
All Starbucks company-owned branches and offices will be closed on the afternoon of Tuesday 29 May. Almost 175,000 receive the training, as all future recruits.
The training “to address implicit bias, and promote conscious inclusion, to prevent discrimination and guarantee to all within a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,” said the company in a statement.
After the incident in Philadelphia, amateur video showed police putting the two men, who were accused by the staff of a shop of trespass, in handcuffs.
The video was widely shared after it was posted on Twitter and has led to accusations of racial profiling.
Starbucks ceo Kevin Johnson said that the video was “hard to watch” and that the actions taken were “wrong”.
In an interview on Monday, Mr. Johnson said the Philadelphia branch manager who called the police, the two men who last week left the company.