Starbucks Customers Are Suspicious Over An Indianapolis Closing

With close to 34,000 restaurants across the world, you can probably find a Starbucks location just about anywhere (via Statista). If, for example, you find yourself craving some overpriced coffee in the middle of a bank vault, you'll be able to order yourself a cup, thanks to a Starbucks located in Amsterdam's Rembrandt Square (via When On Earth). With all of these locations, you would think that most of them stick around for a long time and are strategically placed in convenient locations for coffee lovers.

However, the latter part of the understandable assumption is actually untrue. According to Insider, Starbucks has closed nearly 20 restaurant locations in the United States since July 2022. Among these locations, coffee lovers in Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Kansas City, Santa Monica, and more will have to find new locations to get their Starbucks fixes in the mornings.

So, "What's the reason?" you may ask. The corporation is claiming a steady reason for all of the closings, yet employees, customers, and local police are scratching their heads at how believable it truly is.

This Starbucks closed over safety concerns

When you walk into a Starbucks, you probably – and hopefully – don't feel unsafe. According to Insider, a Starbucks restaurant located in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, is closing over "safety concerns" and a "high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate." This seems like a rational reason to close a store location, especially considering the fact that a California Starbucks also closed over safety concerns earlier this year. However, some police and customers in the Indianapolis area aren't buying it. 

Apparently, the police have no record or awareness of any safety issues or crimes being committed in the area and the customers also feel the same. Police in the area said they have only been called once to the location to address the theft and battery of an employee, leading to a justified arrest. Additionally, employees and customers of the location had not expressed any ongoing safety concerns to management, corporate, or the police. "We were not made aware of any type of safety concerns," Phil Burton, commander of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department's Downtown District, commented on the store's closing.

Starbucks' decision to close this Indianapolis location joins the dozens of other closed locations over the past several months. "After careful consideration, we are closing some stores in locations that have experienced a high volume of challenging incidents that make it unsafe to continue to operate, to open new locations with safer conditions," a Starbucks spokesperson said.

The Starbucks restaurant located at Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis will have its last day on Thursday, October 27 (via WTHR).

Some suspect another reason for the closure

Interestingly, some people have come to question whether Starbucks is covering up a bigger problem at hand. According to Insider, some Starbucks employees that worked at closed-down locations are accusing the company of closing down stores that have recently unionized. The outlet also notes that two of the 16 closed stores were in the process of unionizing when closed. While that is certainly a clear minority of the restaurants in question, some argue that the company is engaging in a practice known as "union busting," in which a company works to avoid the founding of a trade union (via USLegal).

However, Starbucks denies these claims. "Claims of union busting are false. We regularly open and close stores as a standard part of our business operations. We apply the same focus on safety at unionized and non-union stores and are closing non-union stores where we are similarly challenged in providing a safe environment for our customer and partner experience," said a Starbucks spokesperson.

Still, though, it doesn't seem likely to be a fruitful business season for the company. CEO Howard Schultz said more restaurants are scheduled to close in the coming months (via Insider). Make sure you get your coffee from your local location soon, because it might not be around for much longer.