Starbucks is embracing complicated ‘secret menu’ drinks that have blown up on Tiktok and Instagram with a new test

Starbucks is introducing the Pink drink remixed and Moon Drink
is testing a ‘Social Sips’ ordering program. Starbucks
  • Starbucks is testing a new way for customers to order popular drinks from social media.
  • Customers invited into the test will be able to order two modified drinks through QR codes.
  • The initial test is limited to two drinks, variations on an iced matcha latte and the Pink Drink.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Starbucks is testing a new system for ordering off-menu drinks that have gained popularity on social media. The “brief test” will launch June 29, according to an internal memo viewed by Insider and confirmed by Starbucks.

The new ordering system is designed to alleviate some of the confusion that happens when customers see drinks online that aren’t officially on the menu and try to recreate them. Sometimes these drinks are referred to as a “secret menu,” and given names that baristas don’t necessarily recognize, as there is no actual official secret menu.

“Starbucks is always exploring innovative ways to enhance the customer experience. As part of these efforts, this summer we are doing a limited test to help customers easily order popular social media customizations. Our customers and partners often come up with creative customizations and we look forward to hearing feedback on their experience using this digital ordering feature,” a spokesperson told Insider.

The program is limited to just two drinks at first. The “Pink Drink Remixed” is a venti Pink Drink with Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Foam, and the “Moon Drink” is made up of a grande iced matcha latte and two pumps of chai. They will cost $6.25 and $5.55, respectively. The two drinks were selected to “reduce complexity but still test the function,” the spokesperson said.

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A small number of customers will be invited into the test, and their experience alongside Starbucks workers’ experiences will give the company insight into how this development could be implemented in the future, a spokesperson told Insider. Starbucks declines to share the exact size of the test, or any information about when it might be introduced more broadly.

The test will “make it easier for customers to order a beverage they see on social media, streamlining the process and saving you time while allowing the customer to order the drink they want,” the internal update for workers says, “even if they don’t know how to order it in “Starbuckian.”

Drinks will connect to Starbucks mobile ordering through Instagram and Facebook. Customers can select the drink they want through those platforms, which will lead to a scannable QR code that can be accessed by Starbucks employees.

The Moon Drink gained popularity online after TikTok influencer Anna Sitar posted a video of herself ordering the drink. Lizzo used the duet feature on the video, and after taking a sip told fans to try the drink.

@lizzo ##stitch with @annaxsitar w oat milk bitch

♬ original sound – lizzo

Promoting these drinks on social media also helps Starbucks deal with growing ingredient shortages by directing customers to ingredients that are available. Earlier in June, Insider reported on an internal memo of 25 ingredients and items that were put on temporary hold due to supply chain issues. The ingredients for these drinks are “in full supply,” Starbucks says.

The coffee chain relies on fewer customers who spend more on customized drinks. In the second quarter of 2021, US same-store sales increased by 9% despite a 10% decline in the number of transactions. The growth was driven by a 22% increase in average ticket size as orders grow larger and more complicated. Additions like different milks and sauces (or shots of chai and extra foam in this case) can increase the base price of a drink.

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