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Starbucks
The Starbucks green apron. (Via Starbucks)

As Starbucks continues to invest in technologies meant to better serve its customers, chairman and CEO Howard Shultz announced a few initiatives Monday aimed at serving the people who work for the Seattle-based coffee giant.

In a letter to Starbucks’ employees, Schultz outlined five points designed to show the company’s ongoing commitment to them — even as its digital strategy makes it increasingly easy to get a latte without talking to a barista.

The biggest change is a 5-percent or greater base pay increase for all partners and store managers in U.S. stores. The range of the increase, effective Oct. 3, will be determined by geographic and market factors, Schultz wrote. He said it is “intended to ensure Starbucks remains a retail employer of choice in all the markets where we operate.”

Schultz also addressed upcoming changes to the company’s Bean Stock program, its benefits program and online benefits platform, and scheduling needs.

With 17 million customers using the Starbucks app to order, pay ahead, skip the cafe lines and avoid almost all human interaction, Schultz’s final point is a particularly fun one for baristas looking to make an impression.

He said the company has “heard your requests for more freedom when it comes to bringing your ‘whole self’ to work” and said new dress code changes will promote variety, flexibility and personalization and “elevate the Starbucks Experience — for partners and customers alike.”

More details on what partners might be able to pair with the ubiquitous green apron will be shared at the Partner Open Forum scheduled for the end of July, Schultz wrote.

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