The Real Reason Starbucks Isn't Letting Employees Wear Engagement Rings

By Kate Taylor | Small Business

Starbucks didn't change its jewelry policy because it's anti-love. It changed the rules because its employees will soon be handling more food than ever.

In the last week, outrage erupted over a new company policy that bans workers from wearing engagement and wedding rings to work. Plain bands are okay under the revamped guidelines that now allow tattoos and black denim. But rings with stones -- as well as any watches, bracelets and wristbands -- are out.

The coffee giant says there's a logical reason for the change: it's seriously stepping up its focus on food. Indeed, if the coffee chain wants to achieve its goal of doubling its food business in the next five years, it needs to play by the rules.

"It's all about bringing people under compliance on local and state regulations," says a Starbucks spokesperson. "We're handling much more food now in stores."

Related: Starbucks Is Preparing for Delivery in 2015

While the spokesperson was unable to confirm if regulations differed for coffee shops and more food-centric locations such as cafes or restaurants, he did say that his understanding was that the change was affected by state and local guidelines for handling food specifically.

The FDA's Food Code's take on the issue seems to fall in line with Starbucks' new dress code. "Except for a plain ring such as a wedding band, while preparing food, food employees may not wear jewelry including medical information jewelry on their arms and hands," reads the document.

Sorry, baristas – there's a real reason your boss is asking you to leave the ring at home. 

Related:  Starbucks Baristas Get a Pay Raise and Permission to Show Off Tattoos

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