Does Starbucks Have Public Toilets? -Know More About It

Starbucks is one of the most popular companies serving coffee on Earth and the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. It is a multinational corporation with more than 32,000 stores in 80 countries. It is headquartered in Seattle, United States, and has a worldwide presence. Kevin Johnson heads the company which was founded way back in 1971. Let us know about “Does Starbucks Have Public Toilets?”

Does Starbucks Have Public Toilets?

Does Starbucks Have Public Toilets?

Starbucks does have toilets for its employees and customers. In the past, the Starbucks toilets were locked and one had to request access and ask for the bathroom code. But an incident led the coffee giant to change its policy in May 2018, following which anyone can use the toilets, irrespective of whether the person has bought something or not. It was part of an effort to bring down the allegations of racism after the Philadelphia incident. Howard Schultz, Chairman of Starbucks, made a statement to the think tank, Atlantic Council, that he believes that they are going to make the right decisions and give people the key. He also said that the washrooms would be available to the public and that buying something from the coffee chain giant isn’t a prerequisite to access the washrooms.

Starbucks Rewards Hacks – Know Mo...
Starbucks Rewards Hacks – Know More

Reason For Restriction 

The obvious reasons include vandalism concerns and maintenance problems. To help with the maintenance cost to keep the washrooms functional, many companies request customers to buy something first. One other major concern is drug use in public toilets. A survey found that 58% of managers have seen people engaged in drug use when given access to public toilets. However, it is worthy to note that this change of policy can make a big difference in the lives of people without a home. People who are homeless belong disproportionately to racial minorities. Maria Foscarinsi believes that it is an opportunity for Starbucks to educate its staff on homeless anti-bias information. 

Cause For The Change In Policy

A row between the manager of Philadelphia and two black men resulted in the change of the policy. The men had come to attend a business meeting and hadn’t yet made a purchase when they requested to use the bathroom. They were arrested. It resulted in the company having to shut down its café for mandatory anti-racial training of its staff and issued a public apology to the men. Around 175,000 staff were trained and the company ended up losing $20 million. It became one of the infamous incidents of public-relations disaster for Starbucks. The footage of the incident went viral with outrage from people accusing Starbucks of racism. In an email that Starbucks sent to its employees, it stated that every customer should feel welcomed in the café. Mr. Johnson believed that the incident could have become a vehicle for positive change. In 2016, three Starbucks stores located in the part of Los Angeles with a high homeless population, allegedly denied access to bathrooms to restrict homeless people from using the washrooms or free Wi-Fi. 


Fewer Customer Visits

A study found that monthly visits to the café dropped 6.8% when compared with coffee shops adjacent to Starbucks. The study was made by scholars at academic schools of the University of Texas. It came to this result by collaborating with SafeGraph, a data company, and by tracking approximately 10 million cell phone location data. It took 10,800 stores under its radar. Starbucks slashed down the findings by claiming that they have been seeing a record influx of customers in its coffee shops. Starbucks pointed out that the study is faulty as it does not consider the purchasing behaviors of 100 million weekly customers. The study used the method of comparing the data with nearby shops as it eliminated other external factors like economic growth, change in consumer behavior, etc. 

A Decline In Customer Traffic

According to another research, it was observed that customer traffic declined in stores that were closer to homeless shelters, and fewer cases of public urination near the stores. It’s better-off clients have been visiting the cafes less, leading to a drop in income for Starbucks’ customers compared with the nearby shops. It can hurt business as non-paying visitors can affect the flow of regular customers. The policy could also deter people who had felt compelled to buy something to sit and access the store’s bathroom. 

Shorter Visits 

Concerning the time spent, customers spend 4.2% less time after the policy change. The short visiting time can also be attributed to the digitization of placing an order which lets people order in advance.

 Shared Experiences 

People also came forward to share similar incidents of racism that they had faced at Starbucks, including the employees who had seen it upfront while working in the chain. An incident similar to Philadelphia’s occurred in California. Brandon Ward, a black customer was denied access to the bathroom despite being a paid customer and on the other hand, a white person was allowed access without having bought anything. 

Staff Training

Starbucks has put active efforts to form a curriculum with the help of civil rights leaders. The aim is to consciously create a safer, more welcoming, inclusive, and non-discriminatory environment at the Starbucks store.


Now we have learnt “Does Starbucks Have Public Toilets?”, The findings of the University of Texas study are not at odds with Starbucks’ claim as the study has compared the data with the trends at the nearby shops and cafes. The chain’s rapid expansion has also become a cause for concern as it might affect its inflow of customers at older stores. It has started facing competition from rivals like McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts. 

Frequently Asked Questions. 

Que. Does Starbucks Have Public Toilets?

Ans. Yes, all cafes in Starbucks have washrooms except the ones which are already inside some other store.

 Que. What is Starbucks’ bathroom code? 

Ans. It does not use a bathroom code or a physical key as of now. But, it used to have a lock and key system and customers had to request the key to access the bathroom. 

Que. What is the most popular drink at Starbucks? 

Ans. Popular drinks at Starbucks include Vanilla Latte, Iced White Chocolate Mocha, and Pumpkin Spice Latte. 

Does Starbucks Have Public Toilets? -Know More About It

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