Starbucks Bathrooms May Be Open to All, But Good Luck Finding a Free Stall

Steve Cuozzo, New York Post, December 8, 2018


Seven months after the coffee kingdom declared its toilets open to all — no purchase necessary! — visitors who hear nature’s call are finding it isn’t always easy to lighten their loads.

Finding a usable Starbucks toilet in the Big Apple might actually have gotten harder since last spring’s announcement — and not just for non-customers.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson declared the open-toilets policy after two black men were infamously arrested in a Philadelphia Starbucks. {snip}

But a Post survey found some supposedly liberated loos in different Manhattan neighborhoods closed to everyone.


A half-dozen toilets were locked or barricaded for no clear reason. Others were closed for prolonged “cleaning,” which an insider said was needed after extreme soiling caused by drug-using, incontinent vagrants.

“Letting everybody in has resulted in nobody getting in,” an employee at one branch fumed.

A rope and traffic cones barred the way at 38 Park Row. When a desperate visitor asked if the loo would reopen any time soon, a barista directed him to a Dunkin’ Donuts nearby.

An out-of-service bathroom at Starbucks on 80 Pine St. in Manhattan.

After The Post asked for explanations from Starbucks’ Seattle headquarters, corporate spokesman Reggie Borges said that all the shuttered rest rooms had reopened.

But signs posted on about one-third of Manhattan’s Starbucks toilet doors pee on the new policy — they still say, “for customer use only.”

Most Starbucks toilet doors also sport numerical punch-code panels. Although some post the magic number, many don’t.

Borges said, “Yes, some stores are still in the process of removing the signs.” He said it wasn’t “as simple as using a screwdriver. Our stores have to work with landlords to make sure they’re appropriately removed.”


The new open-toilets rule pushed by Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz was supposed to help the chain repair the damage to its socially conscious reputation — which includes “community outreach” and a “fair trade” policy with its Third World suppliers.


Original Article