Starbucks customers will no longer have to endure awkward conversations about race with their baristas. When the coffee company launched its Race Together campaign last week on Twitter, it wasn’t exactly embraced with open arms.
In an attempt to open talks on race relations, Starbucks thought writing “Race Together” on cups and opening up dialogue with customers would bring everyone together. Instead, what it did was bring everyone together to slam Starbucks on its horribly executed idea.
On Sunday, Starbucks announced that it would no longer require employees to write “Race Together” on customers’ cups. But it denies that the change had anything to do with the backlash it received.
In a memo released by CEO Howard Schultz, he says the cups were always “just the catalyst” for a broader conversation. The company now plans to host forum discussions as well as features in USA Today. In addition to those plans, the company will open more stores in minority communities.
If Starbucks had done those things in the beginning, I doubt it would have been met with much backlash. The “Race Together” idea isn’t horrible, but it was poorly executed.