Starbucks Complains Piling Up over Bathroom Policy that has become Haven for the Homeless
Nobody understands more than entrepreneurs how important places like Starbucks are to get work done. While some of use can work from home, for many of us it’s impossible and Starbucks used to be a great place. Some of us have to get out of the house and be around noise and new environments but all that has changed for Starbucks over the last couple of years because of an incident in Philadelphia. But what can the company do now to fix the problem since implementing the new open bathroom policy?
While we can all have sympathy for the outrageous homeless population in big cities like Los Angeles, the coffee giant must be kicking itself in the ass after panicking when two black men were arrested in April of 2018 and they enforced a new policy where anyone could use their bathrooms. Not only is there a Google thread about the homeless population taking over many of the Starbucks stores it’s very evident in major cities like Los Angeles. (Google “Starbucks Homeless”)
On any given day you can go to a Starbucks and see dangerous extension cords connected to one outlet, backpacks, suitcases, boxes and bags left by homeless people who occupy tables to charge their devices while they leave the premises.
There are also homeless people with mental issues who stare down and hustle customers for money and clear the store of actual patrons spending money and bathrooms that have everything from defecation on the floor to drug paraphernalia. According to the video below, some Starbucks locations have even started to install needle deposit boxes? The wait to use the bathroom for paying customers is very long as many homeless people use the bathrooms to bathe in the sinks.
Starbucks rush to fix a problem that was not theirs (allowing everyone to use the bathrooms) has come with a heavy price. Their foot traffic is decreasing while other coffee shops are increasing. But what can they do. They have already dug themselves into a corner that will only make them look bad if they try to back out at this point.
Several locations have started to close their bathrooms altogether to the public in major cities by eliminating chairs in their dining area. There are “Employee only” signs on some of the doors now. There is a good chance that will help but it will not eliminate the people coming in and using the facility to charge their electronics. This has to be an increase in Starbucks’ electric bill each month not to mention a dangerous situation for paying customers because it could be a fire hazard (see image).
Starbucks is no longer a place for entrepreneurs to go and work in Los Angeles because of the new policy and if they don’t figure out a way to fix the problem it will continue to get worse. There are some locations that have become drive-thrus only or small enough to represent foot traffic only.
A business should be able to deny service to non paying customers. That should not be a problem and while Starbucks needed to do some sensitivity training, it is completely unfair for employees to have to clean those bathrooms. Have you been to a Starbucks recently? Your thoughts? How do you think they can fix the problem? Comment below.