Starbucks’ reputation hits 10-year low

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Starbucks has some work to do if it wants to recapture the trust of customers. On Tuesday afternoon, it closed 8,000 stores for anti-bias training.

The coffee giant dropped to its lowest reputation metric in 10 years, according to a YouGov Brand Index score released Tuesday. “Starbucks’ workplace reputation score is at its lowest level in at least 10 years, a difficult blow for a company that has been well-known for its employee benefits and culture, including helping pay for college tuition,” YouGov Brand Index said.

Purchase consideration has not fared well either. This is YouGov’s metric of potential sales revenue. On April 20, 28 percent of consumers would consider purchasing from Starbucks the next time they were buying food or drink. For the past couple of weeks, that number has been hovering around 24 percent, its lowest mark since April 2017.

In April, a video of the two men being handcuffed and removed by at least six police officers from a Philadelphia Starbucks went viral. They were waiting for a business associate. It sparked outrage on social media, with many people pointing out that Starbucks outlets are often full of people tapping away on their MacBooks with and without a Starbucks coffee next to them.

YouGov also examined the daily consumer perception “buzz score” before and after the incident. That score recently reached the lowest level since November 2015.

The buzz score began to recover on May 3. However, it hit a ceiling below where it was before the crisis. “The recent guest policy changes and then tweaks don’t seem to have put it in a more positive direction yet,” YouGov said.

In November 2015, Starbucks received backlash on Facebook and Twitter when it replaced its annual “symbols of the season” Christmas cup design with a simple two-tone red cup. (In May 2015, a diversity-awareness campaign in which baristas were encouraged to write “race together” on every single coffee cup also backfired.)

“The recent guest policy changes and then tweaks don’t seem to have put it in a more positive direction yet,” YouGov added. “Over the next few weeks, we will be able to see if can do just that. Meanwhile, Starbucks is still slightly in negative perception territory.”

Of the April incident, Starbucks Executive Chairman Howard Schultz told “CBS This Morning” Wednesday CBS: “I’m embarrassed, ashamed. I think what occurred was reprehensible at every single level. I think I take it very personally as everyone in our company does and we’re committed to making it right.”

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