Starbucks Slows Down for the Better
By Tom Ryan
After hearing complaints from customers about their coffees, Starbucks
is telling its baristas to stop making more than two drinks at a time and to
take other steps that may very likely prolong waiting times for customers.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, baristas are also
being told to steam the milk for drinks one drink at a time, instead of steaming
an entire pitcher for several drinks, and to rinse pitchers
right after using them. Other instructions include staying at the espresso
bar instead of moving around, and using only one espresso machine instead of
Starbucks told the Journal that the new procedures, which will be
rolled out nationwide by November, will lead to fresher, hotter drinks with
fewer mistakes and more consistency chain-wide. They also insist it will eventually
quicken the way drinks are made once its baristas adapt to the new system.
Forman, a Starbucks barista in Bloomington, MN, said the new measures have “doubled
the amount of time it takes to make drinks in some cases,” and longer
lines have resulted. His store began implementing the new guidelines in early
Tyler Swain, a barista in Omaha, NE, was also wondering how he will
meet his store’s traffic demands. “While I’m blending a frappuccino, it
doesn’t make sense to stand there and wait for the blender to finish running
because I could be making an iced tea at the same time,” he says. His
store has yet to adopt the changes.
The Journal noted that both baristas
interviewed are members of the IWW Starbucks Workers Union.
acknowledge that customers ordering no-foam lattes may have to wait longer
for their drinks and instructs employees to “let
the customer know their beverage will take a little longer and may be out of
order due to the time it takes the milk to settle and the foam to rise to the
top (approximately 60 seconds).”
The documents also state that customers
have indicated that the quality of espresso drinks at Starbucks is “average” and
that the beverages are inconsistently prepared from barista to barista and
from store to store.
The New York Post found a few Starbucks customers
annoyed by the new procedures.
“It’s taking at least twice as long,” said Jared McKay, 27, ordering
an iced coffee on an Upper East Side location in Manhattan. “If it’s going
to be that much longer, I’ll go to Dunkin’ Donuts.”
Discussion Questions: How important is speedy service versus ensuring a
quality product for Starbucks compared to other foodservice operators? What’s
the likelihood that Starbucks’ customers will be willing to wait a little longer
for a more consistent, higher-quality product?
- At Starbucks, Baristas Told No More Than Two Drinks – The Wall Street
- Slower lines? No problem! New Yorkers don’t mind waiting for their Starbucks
java a bit longer – Daily News
- Starbucks puts a
go-slow on joe – New