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Starbucks and Service Animals

Starbucks and Service Animals

By: Joe Thornton, Starbucks division senior vice president

Recently, a customer visited a Starbucks store with his service animal in Houston and had an experience that is inconsistent with our service animal policy, our company values, and the welcoming and friendly environment we strive to create for all of our customers.  Starbucks always welcomes service animals to our stores, and we want every customer who spends time in our stores to enjoy their visit. 

We take this situation very seriously, and following this customer’s experience, we spoke with him to hear his concerns and sincerely apologized.  We have also spoken with the store partner (employee) who caused this negative experience and are using this as a coaching opportunity for the future. 

At Starbucks, we are committed to educating our partners about our service animal policy and to ensuring that they follow it.  When partners are first hired, they receive policy materials, we periodically retrain partners on the policy, and we issue reminders to all of our partners on an annual basis. 

We will continue these efforts to engage with our partners on this topic to ensure they are educated on our policy and that our customers’ experiences exceed their expectations and are reflective of our mission and core values.


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