Starbucks locations are actually friendlier than neighbourhood coffee shops, according to a recent report.
Anthropologists at West Virginia University went to six coffee shops in Boston to observe how staff interacted with customers and wrote about the experience.
Three of the businesses were locally-owned, and three were Starbucks locations.
Starbucks won over the local businesses studied when it came to friendly baristas, anthropologists Rachael A. Woldoff, Dawn Marie Lozzi, and Lisa M. Dilks wrote.
“It was clear that the baristas were on a first-name basis with many of the customers, were familiar with their regular orders, and knew significant personal information about them,” the study says.
The researchers also offered examples of how friendly the baristas were at Starbucks.
“During the second observation, one customer spoke with a barista about her newborn baby, telling him about the baby’s milestones and sharing pictures. On another occasion, a customer had a long conversation with the barista about mutual friends and weekend plans.”
Meanwhile, the local baristas were more likely to give customers the cold shoulder.
“The baristas at the independently-owned coffee houses were more aloof and would just wait or sometimes stare at a customer, offering minimal assistance,” the anthropologists wrote.
The study doesn’t speculate on why Starbucks baristas were generally friendlier. The researchers said the sample size was too small to draw conclusions, but that the subject warranted more research.
If we had to guess, the corporate giant has more resources to train its employees than the smaller chains.