20 Surprising Rules Starbucks Makes Its Baristas Follow

For a successful international coffee retail giant like Starbucks, customer service is everything. Good customer service is exactly what the company strives for to ensure that its brand and business are represented well at all times.

As the company has explained, “Baristas are the face of Starbucks. They are an important part of our customers’ days, and experts in handcrafting delicious, perfect beverages. Baristas personally connect and create moments that make a difference and work together to create a welcoming store environment.”

Indeed, baristas are the people you talk to while you get your daily caffeine fix. They can help start your day right. And they can also impact how well your day would go. This may explain why Starbucks tends to impose some strict rules on its baristas. Moreover, some of these rules tend to be surprising. Just check out what we found:

20 Frowning Is Prohibited

via stories.starbucks.com

According to various reports, Starbucks is one company that strongly believes in service with a smile. Hence, baristas are not allowed to show any frown while serving a customer. Instead, they have to look happy to serve throughout the duration of their shift.  Starbucks partner, Marissa Bea, also told Woman’s Day, “The employee handbook, called 'The Green Apron,' talks about connecting, discovering and responding, smiling… as a way to bond with customers.”

19 Don’t Wear Colorful Clothes

via time.com

When it comes to clothes, baristas have a number of options to choose from. However, they must stay away from bright colors. According to the company’s U.S. Retail Dress Code Guidelines, “Solid black or white shirts with collars, turtlenecks or mock turtlenecks are the rule.” Moreover, the company would also prefer it if shirts were kept tucked in.

18 Never Adjust The Temperature

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If you ever walk into a Starbucks store and find the temperature too warm or cold, don’t bother asking a barista to adjust it. If you must know, there is nothing that they can do about it. According to a report from Worldation, Starbucks management has established temperature limits for their shops.

17 You Can Show Your Tattoos - Just Not On Your Face Or Throat

via fortune.com

Starbucks is one of the few places where self-expression using tattoos is allowed. However, you have to pay close attention to its ink guidelines. The company explains, “We want customers to focus on you, not your body art. Tattoos are allowed, but not on your face or throat. Treat tattoos as you treat speech – you can’t swear, make hateful comments or lewd jokes in the workplace, neither can your tattoos.”

16 Don’t Ask For A Stool Even If You're Short

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As it turns out, you are not allowed to use a stool even if you feel vertically challenged when serving customers. According to a report from Business Insider, a Starbucks employee was once fired after she had requested a stool as she was worried that she “could be a danger to customers and workers.” The said employee was a dwarf and following her termination, the U.S. EEOC took Starbucks to court.

15 You Can Personalize Your Name Tag - But It Has To Be Legible

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As we have said, it looks like a certain degree of self-expression is encouraged at the Starbucks workplace. However, you have to make sure that you don’t overdo anything, especially when it comes to your name badge. The company’s dress code guidelines explain, “Make your name badge your own, but your name must be legible.” That means doodles are allowed, but flair is not.

14 Don’t Allow Dogs In

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For the record, Starbucks has nothing against dogs. However, several reports reveal that baristas are instructed not to let dogs in while their human companion is getting their caffeine fix. This is due to hygiene and food safety concerns inside the store. That said, baristas would be more than happy to whip a puppaccino for a customer’s pooch.

13 Know More Than 87,000 Drink Combinations

via qz.com

At Starbucks, you can get more than just a cappuccino or a latte when you come in. In fact, you can also get something from the supposed secret menu. According to Glamour, these include the Blackberry Cobbler Frappuccino, Cake Batter Frappuccino, and even Skittles Frappuccino. And as Starbucks spokesperson Lisa Passe has told the Wall Stree Journal, “If you take all of our core beverages, multiply them by the modifiers and the customization options, you get more than 87,000 combinations.”

12 You’re Not A Barista, You're A Partner

via mentalfloss.com

When you’re working for Starbucks, you need to be aware that the staff uses a secret language to communicate with one another. For starters, baristas aren’t known as baristas. Instead, they are referred to as partners. As one Starbucks partner, AJ, explained to Mental Floss, “We’re referred to as ‘partners’ because a year into our employment, we get a small percentage in the company, so we’re all stock partners.”

11 Do Not Move To Other Stations

via qz.com

Especially today, baristas are discouraged from moving to various stations behind the counter throughout their shift. Instead, you are expected to “stand still,” according to a report from the Business Insider. The Wall Street Journal also explained, “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.”

10 Don’t Organize A Barista Union

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As it turns, organizing a union is definitely not allowed when you’re working as a barista for Starbucks. According to a report from the Business Insider, an employee named Cole Dorsey was fired from the job in 2008 while attempting to start a barista union. Dorsey’s goal was reportedly to “promote stable work schedules” in her area of East Grand Rapids, Michigan.

9 Steam Milk For Each Drink Order

via fortune.com

The rule was imposed in 2010 when baristas were also told to stop preparing multiple drink orders at the same time. According to documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, baristas are expected to steam milk for each drink instead of steaming an entire pitcher of milk for several drink orders. Moreover, they are also expected to only prepare two drinks at a time. According to the company, this “ensures the quality of the beverage in taste, temperature, and appearance.”

8 Be Prepared To Whip A Babyccino

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A babyccino is basically just plain steamed milk that your little one can enjoy while you’re enjoying your morning caffeine. Be sure to ask about it the next time you and your family head into a Starbucks store. As you can expect, the babyccino will only be prepared upon order so any Starbucks barista can guarantee that it’s freshly made.

7 Give A Discount For Cake Pop Orders

via globalassets.starbucks.com

Community Health Charities Amanda Ponzar discovered this great deal when she went to order some cake pops at her local Starbucks. According to Reader’s Digest, an order of two cake pops may entitle a customer to a discount of 40 to 60 cents. That’s a pretty sweet deal if you ask us!

6 Always Say "Yes"

via cosmopolitan.com

Aside from having to smile throughout their shift, Starbucks baristas are reportedly required to say yes to pretty much anything that the customer asks for. This would probably explain why you can have just about any type of Frappuccino whipped up at their stores. Still craving for the Unicorn Frappuccino? Feel free to order one again anytime.

5 Abide By The 10-Minute Rule

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Apparently, Starbucks partners are required to observe a so-called 10-minute rule across all its stores nationwide. That means that stores have to open 10 minutes before their posted time and close 10 minutes after the actual closing time. Former Starbucks corporate marketing manager John Moore also told Woman’s Day, “This is just to provide good customer service, as there's almost always a customer waiting for a Starbucks to open.”

4 Treat Someone As A Customer, Even If They Don’t Order Anything

via theceomagazine.net

According to a guideline issued by the coffee giant in 2018, “We want our stores to be the third place, a warm and welcoming environment where customers can gather and connect. Any customer is welcome to use Starbucks spaces, including our restrooms, cafes, and patios, regardless of whether they make a purchase.” Nonetheless, customers are also expected to be respectful and considerate of other customers.

3 Let Anyone Use The Restroom, Even If They Don't Order Anything

via starbucks.com

According to Food and Wine, Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz confirmed this policy while speaking at an engagement for the Atlantic Council. Schultz explained, “We don't want to become a public bathroom, but we're going to make the right decision 100 percent of the time and give people the key. Because we don't want anyone at Starbucks to feel as if we are not giving access to you to the bathroom because you are 'less than.' We want you to be 'more than.'”

2 You Can't Have Christmas Off

via my-sweetvalentinelife.blogspot.com

At Starbucks, it seems that Christmas is among the busiest time of year. According to reports, taking time off during this holiday is highly discouraged. Meanwhile, according to a Starbucks document for partners, “Starbucks observes New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. Retail hourly partners are paid 1½ times their base hourly rate of pay for any hours worked on these holidays.”

1 You Can't Wear Heels

via wsj.com

Whereas a number of companies encourage female employees to wear heels, the rule is the other way around at Starbucks. According to the dress code guidelines, “Black or brown closed-toe shoes with a flat heel are a must. We suggest slip-resistant shoes to avoid a fall.” Moreover, Starbucks urges, “Be kind to your feet.”

Sources: Starbucks U.S. Retail Dress Code Guidelines, Starbucks, Woman’s Day, The Wall Street Journal, Food and Wine

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