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How Consumers Have Reacted To Starbucks' Refugee Hiring Announcement

How Consumers Have Reacted To Starbucks' Refugee Hiring Announcement

Back in January, Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz took a political stand against the anti-immigration policies of Donald Trump by announcing that Starbucks would hire 10,000 refugees over the next five years in the 75 counties in which it operates around the world. While the decision may have been more about ideology than business, it seems the move didn’t go over well with Starbucks customers.

According to new data from LikeFolio, Starbucks social media sentiment took a nosedive at the exact moment the announcement was made. While positive sentiment dipped as low as 45 percent in the days following the news, it has since recovered to around 65 percent. Still, the move may have done lasting damage to the company’s reputation.

Related Link: McDonald's Steps Into The Modern Age

According to LikeFolio, Starbucks’ positive social media sentiment never dipped below 70 percent in 2016. It hasn't broken the 70 percent level since news of the refugee hiring plan broke in late January.

While its long-term range of 70-75 percent previously had Starbucks trending above many of its casual dining peers, it has now dipped below the long-term sentiment range of even McDonald’s Corporation (NYSE: MCD). McDonalds’ positive social sentiment has consistently been in the 67-69 percent range.

Surprisingly, McDonald’s may have benefited most from the Starbucks PR debacle. The number of social mentions of consumer spending at McDonalds have been above average for 90 percent of the days since February 1, while morning mentions of Starbucks have been below average 80 percent of those days.

So far in 2017, McDonald’s shares are up 5.2 percent, while Starbucks shares are down 1.7 percent.


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