Starbucks consumers are panicking today because of a report in the Wall Street Journal about new coffee-preparation procedures being handed down from HQ. Starbucks baristas have been instructed to "stop making multiple drinks at the same time and focus instead on no more than two drinks at a time." In addition, baristas are now required to steam milk for each drink instead of steaming an entire pitcher for several beverages. They're also being told to use only one espresso machine instead of two. So many rules! The Journal thinks baristas are being asked to "slow down," and worries about long lines, but over on the Starbucks Gossip blog, some employees predict this will make service faster.
It works, if you actually give it a chance, and do it right. Yes, you only make two drinks at a time. However! There are no wasted moments... and that is why it works. I understand why it bothers people, many people including myself had been doing it a different way for literally years. However, if you really do it the way it is supposed to be done, and you really give it a shot and get it down right, it works.
Let me give a bit more detail on the why, I mentioned no wasted moments, that's because you are always doing something every moment to prepare a drink. Every moment you have while something is happening for that first drink, where it doesn't require you, such as the milk finishing steaming and shots still pulling, you are preparing stuff for your second drink. Before your second drink is finished, during every moment you are not doing something for that second drink, you are preparing stuff for that third drink. If you do this right, you do not waste a second and yes, it works. Why are wait times slower right now? Because people are not used to the system yet.
We're saved! That is, if you believe this anonymous website commenter. But who else are you gonna believe? Negative Nancys like commenter espressobean? "We've started using the new 'routine' and it's been super slow," moans espressobean, who just won't get with the program. "Our DT times are supposed to be 30 seconds and when the bar barista was working during the rush working on two drinks at a time, we were averaging 5 minutes at the DT. It's hard because the bar person takes the drink from start to finish, adding time where we used to be able to help and set up drinks, start steaming milk, etc. It's horrible, we had so many complaints answered with 'sorry! we're introducing a new drink system and just getting used to it'. Generally, it seems DT customers are coming to get a quick coffee and are willing to sacrifice a little quality if they can hurry on their merry way."
What do you think? Are you will to wait longer for a latte that's prepared in a manner more in tune with NYC's other upscale coffeeshops, like Oslo or Joe? Or do you go to Starbucks because it's a convenient place to score a quick caffeine hit and use the bathroom?