Starbucks is having a rough time when it comes to public sentiment.
Once the darling of social consciousness, from the way it treats its employees to the way it reaches out to the local communities in which it opens, the Seattle-based coffee company is in apology mode after two black men were arrested at a Philadephia Starbucks (video of the incident is below).
The video has sparked accusations of racial profiling, and Starbuck CEO Kevin Johnson apologized over the weekend on Facebook, calling the arrests "reprehensible" and asking to meet the two arrested men in order to issue a face-to-face apology.
On Monday morning, protestors showed up at the Philadelphia Starbucks location calling for a boycott.
"We don't want this Starbucks to make any money today. That's our goal," said Abdul-Aliy Muhammad, one of the protest's organizers and co-founder of the Black and Brown Workers Collective.
The event comes at a time when it appears that public opinion of Starbucks is already waning. In fact, Facebook likes for the company are down for what appears to be the first time:
This is particularly significant because a dip in Facebook likes means that users are actively going to the company's Facebook page and clicking on "Unlike". It's a voluntary move on the part of consumers that signifies not just waning opinion, but proactive dislike for the brand.
A closer look at Starbucks' 2018 Facebook likes reveals just how precipitous the drop is:
The Facebook dislikes appear to have started in early 2018 in the midst of mixed news for the brand. On the one hand, the company announced company-wide raises and improved benefits. But on the other, news of poor sales during the holiday season had investors souring on the company.
We've yet to see how this weekend's news will affect social-networking opinion of the brand, but it's not likely to move it in the direction Starbuck's marketing executives would like.