Starbucks’ recent decision to hire 10,000 refugees within the next five years may result in a loss of profit for the company.
According to a recent YouGov BrandIndex survey, Starbucks’ consumer brand perception has dropped by 66 percent since the announcement in January.
YouGov questions approximately 4,800 individuals daily in an attempt to determine the U.S. population’s views on a variety of brands.
The Starbucks survey did not ask specifically if those polled had heard the refugee announcement, but rather if they had heard anything — positive or negative — about the brand.
The answers provided allowed YouGov to establish a “Buzz score” based on consumer perception.
“Since the January 29th hiring announcement, Starbucks’ consumer perception levels fell by two-thirds,” YouGov said in a statement Wednesday.
Starbucks’ employees received a letter from CEO Howard Schultz on Jan. 29 informing them of the plan to hire 10,000 refugees in the wake of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
In the letter, Schultz wrote, “We are living in an unprecedented time, one in which we are witness to the conscience of our country, and the promise of the American Dream, being called into question.”
YouGov said its survey indicated Schultz’s stance could hurt the company’s sales.
“The backlash may hit the bottom line too: two days before Starbucks’ announcement, 30% of consumers said they’d consider buying from Starbucks the next time they wanted to buy coffee, the highest it’s been since last March,” it said. “The percentage is now down to 24%, matching last August’s levels.”
Response to Schultz’s announcement was mixed on the Starbucks Facebook page.
Many people applauded the decision while others called for a boycott.
Matt Kunz took to Facebook with his criticism, writing, “Upon hearing about your decision to hire 10000 refugees instead of Americans I will no longer spend any money at Starbucks.”
Jim Richter posted, “I’ll be one more person not going to Starbucks. Why would a CEO alienate and be divisive.”
Showing support for Starbucks, Kim MacDonald Butler wrote, “Thank you Starbucks! Going to reload my gold card tonight in honor of your public stance on refugees, and vets. Wish more companies did and said the correct thing like you!”
Many people complained that Starbucks was hiring refugees while bypassing veterans.
However, Starbucks announced in 2013 its plan to hire 10,000 veterans by the end of 2018.
It says 8,800 veterans and military spouses have been hired.
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