By Michael Bartiromo
Published January 31, 2019
Employees at Starbucks have been provided with instructions for handling customer queries about former CEO Howard Schultz’s new book, in addition to any "aggressive political opinions," they may wish to share.
Should anyone come into the coffee shops and ask, baristas have been told to “diffuse [sic] the situation” and reiterate that they “respect everyone’s opinion,” per Monday's weekly newsletter for employees, which was first shared by the Huffington Post.
A representative for Starbucks has confirmed that the update obtained by Huffington Post is genuine, though the intended focus was on Schultz's book, and not his presidential ambitions.
The document, as it appears on Huffington Post, begins by outlining Schultz’s third book, “From the Ground Up,” a copy of which was provided to each U.S. Starbucks location.
The document then lists guidelines for Starbucks employees who might be fielding questions about “From the Ground Up” (which will not be sold at Starbucks) before instructing them on dealing with customers’ potentially “aggressive political opinions.”
An excerpt from the update details three potential question/answer scenarios that managers are “encouraged to review” with workers:
"If a customer asks if we are selling Howard’s book at Starbucks:
"No, the books are available at bookstores and online.
"If a customer attempts to investigate, or share aggressive political opinions, attempt to diffuse the situation by sharing:
"We respect everyone’s opinion. Our goal is simply to create a warm and welcoming space where we can all gather, as a community, over great coffee.
"If asked about Howard’s political intentions:
"Howard’s future plans are up to him."
A representative for Starbucks confirmed to Fox News that information about the book made up a large chunk of the weekly update, which covered Jan. 21th through the 27th, but not the totality of it.
On Monday morning, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson also relayed a message to Starbucks' partners, or employees, regarding "From the Ground Up." Johnson addressed too the possibility of partners being asked about Schultz's presidential ambitions.
"Many of us will inevitably be asked if the company supports a possible presidential candidacy of Howard and what changes for Starbucks," the letter read, in part. "As a company, we don’t get involved in national political campaigns. And nothing changes for Starbucks."
Schultz announced a possible run for president on Twitter, as well as CBS' "60 Minutes" earlier this week, saying he was “seriously thinking” about running in 2020 as a “centrist independent." His announcement also raised concern among Democrats that he may divide support for non-incumbent candidates, and help President Trump be re-elected.
“If I ran as a Democrat, which I would not do, I would have to be disingenuous given the platform that they are moving towards, which is a level of ... [a] health care government takeover, of free college for everyone, a job for everyone which tallies about 40-trillion dollars,” Schultz later said in an interview with Fox News' Dana Perino.
Fox News' Brooke Singman and Andrew O'Reilly contributed to this report.