I’ll be getting out of the military soon, and I want to open a coffee roastery in civilian life. I had planned to work at an established place like Starbucks for a while so I can learn the business. Recently, I’ve become concerned with this idea from an ethical point of view. Can you give me some guidance?
First, thank you for your service. The fact that you have enough integrity to even think about this means you’re a conscientious, honest person. I think you’re going to be okay.
Making and serving coffee is not a proprietary set of information. It’s done all over the world by lots of people, so you’re not violating any ethics by doing that.
Now there would definitely be something wrong with you stealing another company’s exact recipes or logo, but I think you already knew that.
There’s nothing wrong with learning how to make different coffee drinks that are made all over the world. Starbucks doesn’t have a corner on that.
There are coffeehouses all across America these days, so there’s no ethics breach. Just understand what’s proprietary about a company or a brand, and don’t duplicate that.
Best of luck to you, sir!
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