The Real Reason Starbucks' Restrooms Are (Seemingly) Always Closed

Let's just say it is not closed due to a leak.

The Starbucks logo on an orange and coral background.
Photo: Starbucks/Allrecipes

Having a public restroom at a coffee shop should be a foregone conclusion. Everyone knows that the lovable bean juice is a catalyst for a trip to the facilities. This is why Starbucks, America's "third place" (remember when this was a thing?), became the unofficial, official public restroom.

However, you may have noticed a piece of paper taped to the door saying "closed" in permanent marker. There could be legitimate reasons for a closure. For example, there could be plumbing issues; a perfectly reasonable explanation. Unfortunately, nine times out of ten, it is closed for more self-serving reasons.

As a previous Starbucks barista in a major city, I have had the task of tending to the restroom throughout a shift. Cities bring a multitude of different people from all walks of life, age ranges, and hygiene standards. Here are the actual reasons the restroom might be closed to the public.

Why Are Starbucks' Restrooms Closed?


Remember when I mentioned the public having a spectrum of hygiene standards? Well, cleaning a room that is dedicated to bodily waste is not for the faint of heart. It can be the grossest thing of your day. A great way to stay clear of getting it dirty in the first place is to keep it closed to the public. Not a good reason to take away a service to customers, but it is a reason.


I am sorry to break it to you, but there is a possibility that any given restroom may be flipped into an extra storage room. There's a ton of product that has to be ordered to run a Starbucks location. Most of the time, the designers do not take storage into consideration when designing the interiors. A great place to store extra products is the open space of the lavatory.

The Takeaway

There are also other, bigger issues with public restrooms and safety in general which may be the reason you are seeing a "closed" sign. But the takeaway here to keep in mind when heading to Starbucks for your usual order is to appreciate the hard work of the employees—and maybe don't count on being able to use the bathroom on your way out.

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