The Awful Reason You're Waiting Longer In Line At Starbucks

Photo: Courtesy of Starbucks.
Have you noticed any changes at your local Starbucks lately? Did it take you longer than usual to get your espresso? It could be due to changes in scheduling and labor hour allocation, according to an investigation conducted by Buzzfeed.

Starbucks has long been a company with a seemingly dual personality. Officially, the company culture has strived to be one dedicated to openness, employee engagement, and environmental concerns, like sustainability and responsible sourcing of its products. Unofficially, the company has consistently faced complaints from employees, called partners, about scheduling and other worker’s rights complaints.

The company’s earnings report in April disappointed analysts and led to over a 5% drop in stock value. Just last week, Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, announced a new long-term strategic plan for the company combined with leadership reorganization. This follows on the heels of the big announcement from Schultz in June about an across-the-board increase to the minimum wage for partners in American stores.

So, what does any of this have to do with longer lines or a drop in the level of customer service? That economic pinch might be the reason for the change in staffing protocols highlighted by Buzzfeed. Managers at stores may be cutting hours, even though the number of customers through the door or “transactions” has remained the same or even increased.

Bottom line: Starbucks is facing both internal and external challenges. That extra time you have to wait might be a symptom of something larger and not just a result of a summertime spike in Frappuccino orders.
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