The bikini-clad baristas at the newest Pink Pantherz Espresso shop near Redwood City, Calif., will be ditching their swimsuits when the café opens on Friday afternoon, albeit in favor of more modest attire.
Pink Pantherz, which regularly employs scantily-clad female baristas at its locations in Modesto, Fresno and Fremont, has come to an agreement with San Mateo County after meeting with concerned residents near the Redwood City location — and amid threats of protesters planning to march outside the café.
As part of the agreement, the owner of the shop has confirmed the female servers in the new location – which actually sits in a unincorporated part of North Fair Oaks – will wear shorts and tank tops instead of lingerie and bikinis.
The coffee stand will also rename some of the edgier items on the menu, including its “Bootycall” and “Pantydropper” drinks.
“[Pink Pantherz is] revisiting drink names and even implementing, for the first time, a more family-friendly dress policy for their baristas,” Pink Pantherz Espresso owner, Jose Carmona, told The Mercury News.
“We’re surprised [by the backlash] obviously, just because it’s not a new concept, but at the end of the day we’re a company and we can change,” Carmona added.
Public outcry over the newest Pink Pantherz Espresso location erupted earlier this summer, after residents became aware of the “bikini shop” planning to open on El Camino Real, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
In the time since, the San Mateo County received a petition signed by 2,000 people opposed to the shop’s opening, while another Change.org petition gathered 1,500.
The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors also met with residents to discuss their issues with the baristas’ dress code, which some feared would send the wrong message to schoolchildren passing by.
While Friday afternoon's protest was canceled after the announcement, some still plan on marching as “a celebration of the power of community,” Sister Christina Heltsley told the Mercury News.
“The young women that are [employed by Pink Pantherz] have their reasons [but] it feels like we’ve made so many steps forward and this is going backward.”
County officials are also pleased with Carmona’s decision, but admitted the “distasteful” attire of the baristas was not technically violating any rules.
Pink Pantherz Espresso's opening in the summer came weeks after a similar California chain, Bottoms Up Espresso, began getting backlash over its new location in Chico.