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Some 18 months after a racial incident in Philadelphia led Starbucks to institute an official policy to open its U.S. coffeehouses and bathrooms to anyone, regardless of whether they make a purchase, a study finds the Seattle giant may be paying a big price for its pledge to be a third place for all people.
Monthly visits to Starbucks dropped 6.8% compared with other nearby coffee shops after the open-bathroom policy was put in place in May 2018, according to a joint study released Tuesday by academics from the business schools at the University of Texas at Dallas and Boston College. The study, conducted in collaboration with the data company SafeGraph, examines aggregate and anonymous cellphone location data from more than 10 million devices between January 2017 and October 2018.
US - Starbucks - Locations - Cafes - Restaurants
It covers nearly 10,800 U.S. Starbucks locations and measures them against other cafes and restaurants nearby.
“The decline in visits to Starbucks is large and significant,” the 43-page report says.
Starbucks - Finding - Earnings - Reports - Customers
Starbucks disagreed with the finding. “As evidenced by our earnings reports, customers are visiting us in record numbers,” spokesman Reggie Borges said. “The study focuses on cell phone user data. What we are seeing is real customers.”
U.S. comparable store sales in the fiscal year through Sept. 29 jumped 5%, including a 3% increase in average spending and a 2% gain in the number of comparable transactions that indicate traffic, Starbucks said in October. Q4 U.S. comparable sales rose 6%, the best performance in over two years. CEO Kevin Johnson said at the time Starbucks continues to see “traffic growth across all dayparts.”
Bathroom - Access - Researchers - Proximity - Starbucks
With the free bathroom access, the researchers looked at the proximity of a given Starbucks store to a homeless shelter and found that customer traffic declined at almost double the rate at stores closest to homeless shelters versus those farthest away....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Forbes
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