Survey: Starbucks CEO’s refugee comments sour customer views of chain, now he’s stepping down

(CitizensOutpost) When President Donald Trump’s first executive order was enacted, creating the widely disputed travel ban on predominately Muslim nations, Starbucks Corporation’s response to hire thousands of refugees became a point of contention between consumers.

Schultz in a letter to employees said the promise of the American Dream was “being called into question” and that “the civility and human rights we have all taken for granted for so long are under attack.”

This led to a measurable decline in customer sentiment towards the corporation:

YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks consumers’ sentiment toward companies and their willingness to purchase from those brands, noted that the data around this boycott is different because both measures are declining.

Starbucks’ consumer perception levels took an immediate hit as measured by YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz score, falling by two-thirds between Jan. 29 and Feb. 13, and have not recovered.

Starbucks Buzz score fell to 4 from 12 during that time.

Such scores can range from 100 to -100 and are compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.

Prior to the controversial statements from Schultz, his company’s reputation was measured at a higher 30 percent in terms of whether consumers would consider buying from Starbucks the next time they made a coffee purchase.

“Consumer perception dropped almost immediately,” said YouGov BrandIndex CEO Ted Marzilli, who added that the statistically significant drop in purchase consideration data showed that consumers became less keen to buy from Starbucks.

This isn’t the first time that Starbucks has been the center of attention for controversial policies.  Back in November of 2015, the holiday “red cup” controversy led to an even larger drop in consumer confidence due to the perceived war on Christmas.

UPDATE: The Daily Mail reports that Howard Schultz will step down from his position as CEO of Starbucks next month. He will continue as executive chairman of the company. Schultz will be replaced as CEO by Starbucks President and Chief Operating Officer Kevin Johnson, who will assume the position of CEO on April 3rd.

Source: Starbucks CEO’s refugee comments sour customer views of chain – survey