Green Beret Behind Vet-Owned Coffee Co is Fed Up with Starbucks' Politics. Now He's Fighting Back with a Challenge
Starbucks grabbed headlines recently with the announcement that it plans to hire 10,000 refugees as a response to President Donald Trump's temporary “travel ban.”
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said of his decision, in part:
“We are in business to inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”
As a result of the news from Starbucks, there have been many calls to boycott the company.
But Evan Hafer, former Green Beret and current CEO of Black Rifle Coffee Company (one of the most successful, veteran-owned start-ups in America) decided to respond to Starbucks in a different way.
He fired back with a pledge to hire 10,000 veterans:
Since Hafer's bold statement, his company, which supplies coffee to tens of thousands of Americans, has received a lot of attention in the media.
Independent Journal Review spoke to Hafer about what led him to challenge coffee giant Starbucks.
"If the CEO of Starbucks is going to push press releases with a political agenda, I'll be the counterpoint. I'll be the conservative option.
My intention isn't to defame Howard Schultz. Starbucks is a great company for its employees. But Schultz has openly said that he doesn't want the business of conservatives. I don't like his political agenda. So I'll supply coffee to the people that he doesn't want to.
And I know Starbucks is hiring a PR company to defame Black Rifle. They are going to go after my company and tell people that I can't do what I said I would. They plan to do it through proxies with social media pundits and a few news outlets. And it just continues to get unraveled more about why people shouldn't do business with them."
Hafer addressed his critics:
"I'm used to operating in impossible odds. I was a Green Beret. In the invasion of Iraq, statistically speaking, before the invasion, we were supposed to take significant casualties. I operated for roughly four years on the ground in Iraq, and I still have all my fingers and toes.
When you can plan and conduct an operation overseas everyone does the risk matrix, like 'are you coming back?' And not one time has the CEO of Starbucks ever operated within that risk matrix. Statistically speaking, the bet's on me, it's not on him."
He revealed that there's more about Black Rifle than just the coffee:
"What people need to understand about Black Rifle Coffee is that a portion of the company is a veteran entrepreneurial incubator. I've directly helped over seven different businesses move through Black Rifle itself and then launch those businesses away from Black Rifle.
We've been directly responsible for not only hiring but creating the businesses that hire businesses.
A big part of what I do throughout my week is consulting and helping other veteran-owned businesses at my expense. I've spent hundreds of thousands of dollars helping other businesses.
I would almost guarantee that no other veteran-owned company that's as big as mine does what I do. I work with those businesses to make them economically viable and successful, too."
Hafer explained how he has seasoned professionals helping forge Black Rifle's vision:
"Black Rifle Coffee through brick-and-mortar has an expansion program with strategic partner 511. The 511 CEO is the former CEO of Panda Express and the former COO of Taco Bell.
511 plans to open up 24 different shops in the next 2 years. And we have other parties helping us to accomplish what we're intending to do.
I'm targeting red states with the goal to do 600 stores in six years. The first phase will be putting Black Rifle into a lot of different businesses. The second phase is to have independent coffee shops, the third is our franchise model."
Then Hafer made it clear whose business he wants, “I want conservatives' business. I don't want liberals buying my coffee; I don't. There is a veteran-owned, veteran-operated conservative coffee option out there. And we can get to that hiring point of 10,000 veterans. 10,000 is less than 5% of the 230,000 employees or so working for Starbucks.”
Hafer finished by swinging open the door for conservative Americans, “With conservative America behind me and Schultz wanting to actively forfeit his business, I'm stepping up to the challenge. I'll take on that challenge. I'm openly conservative, and I'll be the guy who supplies coffee to the people he doesn't want.”