TikTokers Are Making Life Miserable For Starbucks Employees With ‘Insane’ Drink Orders

by : Emily Brown on : 27 May 2021 18:12
TikTokers Are Making Life Miserable For Starbucks Employees With 'Insane' Drink OrdersPA Images/@xhoneywolfie/TikTok

TikTok users ordering complicated and extravagant drinks at Starbucks are making life more difficult for employees who are already dealing with increasing pressures related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

While it’s admittedly exciting to discover a new menu item or ‘hack’ that allows you to get your hands on a lesser-known product at stores such as Starbucks, the detailed requests can be a pain for the barista.


The occasional demanding order might not be too much of a strain, but with viral TikTok videos encouraging customers everywhere to up their ordering game, the pressure is piling up for employees.

Check out one such video below:


Workers found their jobs became more tough during the pandemic as some customers would go as far as to verbally or physically abuse them over coronavirus safety protocols, and with some stores considered to be understaffed, employees believe they are not being paid enough for what has become more intense work.

Speaking to The Guardian about the issues, one Starbucks shift supervisor in New York said, ‘The labour hours we get are not enough for the sheer volume of orders that we have to produce. They’re asking way too much of us and a lot of the time I don’t have enough people on the floor to do all the things that Starbucks asks us to do.’

Discussing the effect of TikTok viral trends, they said, ‘These orders are driving us insane because they’re so long, so specific, and it requires you to do much more work than you should be doing for one single drink.’

Starbucks iced latte (Pixabay)Pixabay

As orders become more complicated and the ways in which customers can order increase, workers have struggled to keep up with drive-thru time quotas and sales that have been emphasised during the pandemic.

The shift supervisor said the company wants workers to ‘just be these robots that move fast’, adding, ‘We’re just little drones to them that just need to pump out as many lattes as we can in a half-hour.’

Another employee, who works as a barista in Maryland, said they believed customer service had been prioritised over the safety and respect of workers during the pandemic.

They added, ‘With mobile order or delivery, we can’t always clarify what they want and people will get very mad over sort of little stuff when you’ve made the drink almost perfectly, and it’s frustrating to feel like you can’t say we can’t really make it that way, so people treat us like coffee-making robots.’


A third employee reiterated the issue, saying the ‘long, specific’ orders were driving workers ‘insane’ because they require ‘much more work than you should be doing for one single drink and they’re not being adequately translated into our labour hours’.

When one barista took to social media to complain of a drink order with several modifications, they ended up being fired by the company.

So, next time you want to order an extra-large double-shot vanilla and hazelnut latte with whipped cream and no ice, maybe think about how much you really need all of the extra ingredients.


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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Food, coffee, Now, Starbucks, TikTok, Viral


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    ‘Coffee-making robots’: Starbucks staff face intense work and customer abuse