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Starbucks, the largest coffee chain in the world, has notified its employees in the US that, from now on, anyone may sit at a Starbucks cafe - even if one has not ordered anything.

Similarly, anyone may use cafe bathrooms regardless of whether or not one purchased something.

"Any person who enters our spaces, including patios, cafes and restrooms, regardless of whether they make a purchase, is considered a customer," Starbucks said in an email to employees on Friday.

The new policy comes after an incident last month at a Starbucks cafe in Philadelphia, during which two black men were arrested by police after they sat in the cafe without ordering anything and one of them asked to use the bathroom. When they refused to leave, the store manager called police.

The two had been waiting for a local Jewish businessman, Andrew Yaffe. Yaffe, who runs a real estate development firm, had reportedly planned to meet with the two to discuss investment opportunities.

Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson subsequently apologized publicly for the incident, which he called “reprehensible.”

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