Starbucks has thousands of locations around the world, but only one branch is staffed entirely by seniors. The coffee chain has opened its first senior-run location in Mexico City, and it hopes to continue employing more older adults in Mexico before the year is over.
Currently, seven people between the ages of 55 and 60 are employed at this new Starbucks. According to Reuters, they will work six-and-a-half-hour shifts, are guaranteed two days off per week, and will have major medical expenses covered under insurance. Starbucks implemented measures like lowering shelves to avoid accidents, building stores that were only one level, and arranging for different work schedules to ensure their senior employees stay safe while working.
Right now, younger Starbucks employees are training the new hires. “They treat us with a lot of respect and courtesy. I think we’ve formed a very interesting bond, and at the end of the day, it’s a productive job for everyone,” Sergio Arrioja, a senior staff member, told Reuters through a translator.
Many youngsters get their first job at Starbucks, and the chain offers education programs, career planning, and scholarships. The company hoped to replicate those same inclusion initiatives with older adults. “It took us two years to land the best scheme to contribute to the elderly community in Mexico. Opening the doors of our stores to senior baristas was not a goal, it was an act of congruence with the inclusion philosophy of Starbucks,” said Christian Gurría, the CEO of Starbucks in Mexico.
Since 2011, Starbucks and the National Institute for Older Persons have worked together to create a program where senior adults could find work. In 2013, the two reaffirmed their committment to finding seniors jobs by signing an agreement stating they would continue to ensure this community had work opportunities. By the end of this year, Starbucks plans to employ 120 seniors in their Mexican locations.
At a time when seniors are being told all the things they can’t do, it’s heartwarming to see a big corporation like Starbucks offer older adults opportunites they can do. Besides, grandparents are obviously the best cooks in the family, so we imagine their brew will come steaming hot and with a little extra love.