Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz has called on baristas to be extra patient with customers on Monday, given the dramatic stock market swoon that no doubt has left countless coffee addicts anxious about the state of their retirement holdings.
As of mid-afternoon, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 4%, continuing a difficult run for stocks. (The stock markets pared some of their earlier losses, but 4% is still gigantic.) That means that Starbucks’ often affluent clientele is probably feeling the pinch, and could use a bit more love from their neighborhood barista.
“Today’s financial market volatility, combined with great political uncertainty both at home and abroad, will undoubtedly have an effect on consumer confidence and perhaps even our customers’ attitudes and behavior. Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern,” Schultz told staff in an email obtained by Fortune. Fusion earlier reported on the email.
“Let’s be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations,” he told his “partners,” Starbucks terminology for employees. Starbucks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He’s probably in need of a bit of TLC himself: the 5% drop in Starbucks’ stock price has reduced the company’s market value by more than $4 billion. Since Schultz owns nearly 32.6 million shares, according to Yahoo Finance, that means he is worth $86 million less than this morning.
Here is the full email Schultz sent to staff:
To: Starbucks partners; managing directors for company-operated and joint venture markets
Date: August 24, 2015
Re: Message from Howard: Leading Through Turbulent Times
During our 23-year history as a public company, we have experienced – and successfully navigated through – several periods of extreme stock market volatility. And although we are not immune from the global stock market selloff that has now made its way to Wall Street, my confidence in our company and in all of you has never been greater. We are in the midst of another record-setting year – combining our unique “third place” in-store experience with highly relevant coffee and tea innovation and differentiated customer-facing mobile and digital technologies. We are making a profound social impact in the communities we serve around the world, and will continue to do so today and into the future.
Our company has weathered many different types of storms. But our brand has never been stronger or more relevant. Our pipeline of new products and breakthrough innovation has never been more robust. And our long term commitment to delivering an elevated partner experience is unwavering. I can assure you that we will continue to lead and manage the company through the lens of humanity, doing everything we possibly can to continue to make your families proud of our company and all we stand for. You have my word on this.
Today’s financial market volatility, combined with great political uncertainty both at home and abroad, will undoubtedly have an effect on consumer confidence and perhaps even our customers’ attitudes and behavior. Our customers are likely to experience an increased level of anxiety and concern. Please recognize this and – as you always have – remember that our success is not an entitlement, but something we need to earn, every day. Let’s be very sensitive to the pressures our customers may be feeling, and do everything we can to individually and collectively exceed their expectations.
Our growth plans for the future of our company will not be impacted by the turmoil of the financial markets. We will positively manage through today’s challenging environment just as we have positively navigated through challenging moments in the past. The experience we deliver in our stores, the strength and equity of our brand, and the primary reason for our current and future success is because of all of YOU. I believe in you and have never been prouder to be your partner.