A Starbucks Coffee in Studio City is drawing attention after the store removed all customer seating.
Only to-go orders are allowed at the 10965 Ventura Blvd. location of the popular coffee shop, as indicated by a sign posted to the door.
While Starbucks did not directly attribute the decision to any one cause, a spokesperson implied that the seating was removed due to a safety concern and that the decision was made at that specific store, and not at the corporate level.
Customers tell KTLA they regularly witness baristas being harassed and threatened by people who appear to be homeless.
“There have been people throwing things at the window, the baristas being harassed,” said a regular customer.
A statement from Starbucks read:
“Our local leaders are, and have always been, empowered to use the many resources at their disposal to modify store operations and create the best experience for our communities. Our first priority is to make sure our partners are safe at work. We will continue to work to make sure that partners can focus on crafting exquisite beverages and creating connections in a safe, warm, and welcoming environment.”
Some regular customers are unhappy at the lack of seating to enjoy their coffee while others recognize why the decision was made.
“I understand because of safety issues,” said customer, Albert Alatorre. “This area does tend to get a little harsh later at night.”
While no direct connection has been made to the Studio City location’s decision to remove seating, at least six other Starbucks stores in Los Angeles have closed in the past year due to what the company described as “challenging incidents.”
At the time those closures were announced, Starbucks implied that safety was the motivation behind the decision.
“I voted for our mayor, but there are just so many complex problems,” said customer Melony Ronning. “My friend works at city hall and talks about all the hoops that people have to go through to try and make changes to house the unhoused.”