Working for Starbucks is an experience like none else. There’s a lot to remember, the shifts can start incredibly early or end painfully late, and it’s not easy, no matter what the customers say (sorry we got your drink wrong, but please don’t say you could do it better yourself). Here’s what it’s really like to work for one of the largest coffee chains in the world:
1. Bev routine is the worst
When you start working for Starbucks and are assigned to work on the bar, i.e. making the drinks, you’ll learn a thing called ‘bev routine’. It’s basically the correct process for how to make each signature beverage to a high standard. It’s fine if you have a ton of time to make a single drink but when you have a line of cups forming and grumpy businessmen waiting, trying to follow this is so difficult and so messy.
2. Baristas hate you if you order a Frappuccino
Frappuccinos are delicious, there’s no denying it. They come in all different flavours and they’re great on hot days. However, they are an absolute pain to make! They have up to seven components while a hot drink has at most three or four, so they completely mess up any flow you have, and they take so much time. Teenage girls as a group fill Starbucks baristas with fear because we know what’s coming next.
3. It’s nice to have regulars
One of the best parts of the job are the regulars who come in. We remember the nice customers and we make a point of remembering their orders too, so if you come in frequently and you’re one of the nice ones, you’ll make the barista’s day a little bit brighter.
4. Most of the burns come from molten cheese
There are hazards and risks of working for Starbucks. While the steam wand can be brutal, the burns don’t last too long. It’s the burns from the cheese in toasties that are lethal. You’re trying to hurriedly bag a customer’s toastie after it’s been warmed up, but a tendril of cheese can whip out at any moment and stick to your hand or arm if you’re not careful. It’s like being hit with lava.
5. You’ll make a strong bond with other baristas
The bond you form with other baristas on shift is pretty much unbreakable. The work you do is gruelling and there’s downsides to the job but you’re all suffering together. It’s a suffering you share together, and it makes working at Starbucks a little bit easier on the busier days.
6. Mugs are used as trash cans by customers
You will only know this if you’ve worked for Starbucks. When clearing tables and loading the dishwasher, you have to get rid of anything left in the mugs and on the plates. Customers, for some reason, see the iconic ceramic mugs as places to put all their rubbish, and some of the things baristas need to get out of them are grim. It can range from coffee stirrers to napkins which are soggy from the leftover coffee to cigarette butts. It’s grim.
7. You have to clean the toilets
You may have the idea that working as a barista is going to be all to do with food and drinks but there’s so much cleaning needing to be done, especially at the end of your shift. The worst part of the job is cleaning the toilets. The sights you’ll see are enough to never want to use a café toilet again.
8. You need comfy shoes
The opportunity to sit down on the job is very rare; you get a half-hour break at most. You need to wear clothes that won’t restrict you and you need shoes comfy and sturdy enough to cushion your aching feet. Seriously, your body needs something to help it through the shifts because you are going to be on your feet almost constantly.
9. Size matters
As a customer, don’t ask for a ‘regular coffee’. At Starbucks, there’s a variety of sizes, ‘short’ being the smallest, and ‘venti’ being the biggest. Asking for a regular anything doesn’t give the baristas any indication of the size you want. Also, customers who just ask for a coffee then get frustrated when we ask ‘what kind’ are the ones who make the shifts so much more difficult. We’re not mind readers.
10. You’ll smell like coffee
This can be a good or a bad thing, it depends on how much you enjoy the smell of coffee. Smelling like espresso can be really comforting and warm, and usually you get covered in syrup so you’ll probably smell like vanilla and caramel too. When you’re sick of being around all things coffee as you continue working for Starbucks, all you want to do is wash your clothes. However, it’s something your friends will appreciate.