Message from Howard to Partners: Come Together

Read the letter from Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman, president and ceo, to Starbucks partners (employees) about coming together during uncertain times.

October 8, 2013

Dear partners,

As I reflect on the success our company has achieved during the past year, I am nevertheless reminded of the hardships, stresses and strains that many of our customers are experiencing in these volatile times. The U.S. federal government shutdown, the pending debt and default crisis, waning consumer confidence and the general sense of unease these and other events have instilled in the minds of so many have created another period of uncertainty in our country.

Faced with this seemingly unending cycle of dysfunction and doubt, it would be understandable if many of us -- and our customers -- felt cynical, powerless or disengaged. So, as we have done in the past, we once again find ourselves asking a simple question: What can WE do about it at Starbucks? After all, we're just a coffee company.

Our business was built customer-by-customer, one cup of coffee at a time. Every day in our stores, we bear witness to small acts of human kindness that reflect the generosity of spirit at the core of our guiding principles. Most often, these are the little gestures that best embody our commitment to our communities and our care for our customers, and one another.

Starting Wednesday through this Friday, we honor that heritage. If a customer buys someone else their favorite beverage, we will offer that customer a free tall brewed coffee in return. It's that simple – “pay it forward,” and Starbucks will pay you back. I believe you will agree that this is a different yet authentic way Starbucks can help our fellow citizens to Come Together by supporting one another during a particularly challenging time, while continuing to make Starbucks stores a place of respite and comfort for millions of customers.

I've said before that we have a responsibility as well as an opportunity not to be bystanders, but to act in ways that contribute to the vibrancy of the communities where we live and work. This has always been the lens through which we make decisions, and it is a key reason why our customers have continually trusted us to do the right thing.

Please join me in helping our customers Come Together to support and connect with one another, even as we wait for our elected officials to do the same for our country. And thank you all for the heroic things you do every day as a Starbucks partner. Together, we can continue to make a difference-one cup, one customer, one act of civility and kindness at a time.



Stay tuned for more in the coming days as we continue to use our scale for good.

When we Come Together our voices can be heard.