Fact Check

Did Starbucks Announce 'Patrons of Color' Can Go to the Head of the Line?

A spoof of the Starbucks race controversy and anti-bias training featured an apocryphal quote from the chain's CEO.

Published Jun 3, 2018

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Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson announced a new policy under which "Patrons of color will be allowed to move to the head of the line at all of our locations."

In April 2018, the giant Starbucks coffee chain became the center of controversy when the manager of a Philadelphia store called the police on two black men who were waiting for a friend and had asked to use the bathroom without ordering anything.

Starbucks quickly announced plans to close more than 8,000 U.S. stores for several hours to conduct racial bias training, and the following month the chain informed their employees of a revised policy under which "Any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer."

When Starbucks did temporary close thousands of their outlets on 29 May 2018 to conduct the aforementioned anti-bias training, a meme appeared on social media offering a purported quote from company CEO Kevin Johnson announcing a new policy under which "Patrons of color will be allowed to move to the head of the line at all of our locations":

Of course, neither Kevin Johnson nor Starbucks announced any such "permanent cuts" line policy -- the quote was just a spoof of the racial controversy and Starbucks' response to it. Starbucks' actual announcements around the event were more like the following:


Shane, Daniel and Julia Horowitz.   "Starbucks: You Don't Need to Buy Anything to Hang Out in Our Stores."     CNNMoney.   21 May 2018.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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