Letter from Starbucks ceo Howard Schultz: Investing in our shared future

Two baristas smiling at each other with a pour over

Dear Partners:

Over the past month, I’ve traveled the country and met with thousands of you from our retail stores and all five roasting plants as we embark on co-creating the future of Starbucks.

The conversations we had were both humbling and inspiring. I heard about the challenges and frustrations you have faced. I heard how hard it has been during the pandemic, and the strain caused by accelerating demand and customer behaviors that have changed. I heard how your experience doesn’t always feel like the Starbucks you used to know or thought it would be.

You also voiced a great deal of hope: hope that meaningful change is possible; hope that Starbucks will restore our leadership in offering new and innovative investments that truly make a difference in your lives; and hope that we will reintroduce joy and connection back into the partner experience and make you proud.

The most important thing we must do in this moment is affirm unequivocally that to be a partner means:

  • You have the pay, benefits, and stability you need, so you can focus on your aspirations
  • You have everything you need to have the best shift, every shift
  • You are recognized and celebrated for who you are
  • You are part of co-creating the future of Starbucks. You have a voice, you feel heard, you can make a difference

As a direct result of your feedback, we are now making additional investments to lift up Starbucks partners and the store experience, contributing to the $1 billion in investments we are committing to the partner and store experience this year alone. Some of the new and more immediate changes you can expect are:

  • Doubling training hours in our stores
  • Pay increases that will apply to all U.S. store partners while recognizing and rewarding tenure
  • Reintroduction of the Black Aprons, Coffee Master program and Leadership in Origin trips to our coffee farm at Hacienda Alsacia
  • New collaboration tools and programs, including a new partner app for easier access to communication, information and resources

That’s just the start. We are also prioritizing and accelerating investments in equipment and technology, enhancements to digital tipping, a financial stability toolkit benefit, and recognition and career development, all with your input. Our history shows that working together is always the best way to transform and elevate the experience we deliver to you, to our customers and to the communities we serve.

As I shared with you last month, love and responsibility are what brought me back to Starbucks: my love of the company and my deep responsibility to our partners and shareholders. Hearing from so many of you since my return has only deepened my commitment and affirmed the need to take bold action to restore your trust and belief in Starbucks. I could not be more optimistic or confident in our next chapter that is now underway.

Onward with gratitude,


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New, more sustainable Starbucks cold cups are made with up to 20 percent less plastic