Starbucks has ordered its baristas to obey strange new rules, including standing in one place while making a drink, according to a new article in the WSJ.Apparently customers have been grumbling that the quality of Starbucks coffees has taken an ugly turn, and Starbucks HQ thinks its new decree will both improve the taste of your latte and shave time off the wait.
The workers at the coffee store are sceptical of the rules; they say the new techniques are going to make lines longer, not shorter.
Maybe they just don’t want to obey the list of bizarre new edicts. Some of them are strangely specific, like the one requiring them to stand in one place and another that forbids a natural working habit: multi-tasking.
Company documents viewed by the WSJ include new instructions like:
- Steam milk for each individual drink (instead of steaming an entire pitcher for multiple coffees)
- Rinse a pitcher every time it gets used
- Stand still at the espresso bar rather than moving around the counter
- Only use one espresso machine – not two.
We spoke to a barista at our local Starbucks, who called the new procedures “crap,” and said that in his store, lines have become angrier. When we asked how HQ monitors whether employees are following the new rules, he pointed to the security cameras behind him. Though he was being facetious, Starbucks has actually sent out investigators to scrutinize their baristas.
Apparently so-called “lean teams” have reviewed procedures at some Starbucks stores and determined that the above processes could make drink quality better and shave time off how long it takes to make each beverage.
But how is standing still going to help? What if you need something at the other end of the counter?
The new directives imply workers should perform in an “assembly line” fashion. So should you alert the entire team if you need something, and have them individually pass it to you?
The assembly-line idea is actually the funniest part about this – the company’s inspiration comes from Detroit.
“Starbucks has been applying to the coffee counter the kind of “lean” manufacturing techniques car makers have long used as a way to streamline production, eliminate wasteful activity and speed up service.”
Also noted in the article is a warning. If you’re a fan of no-foam, you might want to adjust your caffeine-palate – apparently customers who order no-foam lattes might have to wait longer for their drinks.
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