Starbucks toilet coffee prompts anger in Hong Kong; It has been using the water from a tap in a toilet to make beverages since its opening in October 2011

Starbucks toilet coffee prompts anger in Hong Kong

It has been using the water from a tap in a toilet to make beverages since its opening in October 2011. -AFP
Thu, May 30, 2013
AFP

HONG KONG – A Starbucks cafe in Hong Kong’s posh financial district which used water from a tap near a urinal to brew coffee prompted a torrent of angry reactions from customers Thursday. The coffee shop, in the famous Bank of China Tower, has been using the water from a tap in a toilet to make beverages since its opening in October 2011. Images from local newspaper Apple Daily showed the tap with a sign that said “Starbucks only” a few feet away from a urinal in the dingy washroom, which the paper said was in the building’s carpark. “Totally disappointed! The initial decision by Starbucks to use water from toilet is a clear sign of your company’s vision and the level of (dis)respect your company has for the health and mind of your customers.” Kevin L wrote on the Starbucks Hong Kong Facebook wall.“I’m now really worried when I purchase coffee from Starbucks. Who knows which other stores are using the similar practice! Scary!!” Kevin L wrote.

“I stick to my McCafe and the water is not from a toilet!” Cristiane Guimaraes commented on her Facebook wall.

The water was collected less than five times a day by staff from a tap in a toilet located near the store, Starbucks told AFP, adding that it was dedicated for collecting drinking water.

“There is no direct water supply to that particular store, that’s why we need to obtain the drinking water from the nearest source in the building,” Starbucks spokeswoman Wendy Pang said.

The water from the toilet tap would go through a filtration system in the store ensuring it passed local and World Health Organisation standards, Pang said, adding the store is now using distilled water.

“The issue that is more worrying is…the potential risk of transferring pathogens from the restroom environment into the Starbucks food preparation area,” Hong Kong University School of Public Health associate professor Benjamin Cowling said.

“I wouldn’t go to the restaurant in the first place if I knew they were having potentially risky hygiene practices,” Cowling said.

About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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