If the pressures of the pandemic on hospitality and customer service jobs weren’t already enough, staff say their jobs are being made much harder by these complicated drink orders.
Thanks to mobile ordering allowing for as many modifications the customer wants – and viral TikTok videos sharing so-called “secret menu” items and people’s own recipes –staff are said to be struggling.
One Starbucks employee told The Guardian: “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.”
Viewed over 550,000 times, the Fuzzy Peach Refresher recipe calls for a modification on Starbucks’ existing mango dragonfruit drink.
In the clip, TikTok user @salvaggio_chris asks the Starbucks worker: “Can I have a venti mango dragonfruit refresher, with no water and no inclusions.
“And can you do that with half peach juice, and then two pumps of vanilla and a splash of coconut milk on top.”
In August, another TikToker shared her “Moana Frappuccino”, which is based on the Disney character.
She said: “You’re going to start by ordering a grande white mocha cream-based Frappuccino, then ask for strawberry puree, and mango juice to be added and ask for Graham cracker to be put on the bottom and top of the drink.”
Alongside the caption was an image of a customer’s order for a venti caramel ribbon crunch frappe, which had 13 (13!) customizations including extra whipped cream, a double blend, and five bananas.
Now with drive-thru and mobile ordering available, drinks are more likely to be modified on these services. Business Insider reports 80% of the company’s sales were through these methods - and that was pre-pandemic.
One Starbucks employee told The Guardian: “Starbucks definitely took this turn to becoming just another fast-food drive-thru.”