Starbucks Leaves Customers Enraged After Staffing Changes Lead to Delayed Orders, with Some Waiting 40 Minutes

Customers and staffers alike say they’re unhappy with the effects of changes to the company’s labor algorithm that they say has led to shortages in key areas and therefore poor customer service.

Workers and managers — none of whom were authorized to speak to media about the issue, and therefore requested to remain anonymous — told Bloomberg that Starbucks Corp. allocates labor using an algorithm that analyzes data like order forecasts to determine each store’s staffing needs.

That algorithm doesn’t take enough data into account, some employees told Bloomberg, like how long it takes to fill special orders, which the outlet said were “ballooning” in number.

The result, according to these workers, is understaffing leading to much longer customer wait times.

In addition, Chief Executive Officer Laxman Narasimhan has emphasized barista interaction with customers, while simultaneously demanding “efficiency,” Bloomberg reported.


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“Those competing demands have left some workers and customers feeling like Starbucks is doing neither warmth nor convenience very well,” according to the Wednesday article.

Bloomberg’s Daniela Sirtori cited data from Techtomic that said that roughly one in 12 customers waited between 15 and 30 minutes before receiving their Starbucks orders last quarter, while essentially no customers waited that long in line five years ago.

She also cited the example of a customer in Shelton, Connecticut, who waited 40 minutes for on Mother’s Day for a treat for his wife.

“Nobody involved, in my observation, including me, the other customers, and even the staff seemed to be happy,” he said of his visit to his regular Starbucks store that day.

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Starbucks “acknowledged longer wait times contributed to the company’s first quarterly sales decline since 2020,” Sirtori wrote, while simultaneously claiming not to be understaffed.

Chief Reinvention Officer Frank Britt also acknowledged that a 40-minute wait time was “unacceptable,” according to Bloomberg.

“That’s on Starbucks,” Britt told the outlet. “We should be better.”

Bloomberg said the company had changes to its algorithm over the past 18 months, as well as requiring that all employees be willing to work a minimum of 12 hours per week on average, a move the company said was aimed at giving employees who wanted more hours the opportunity to earn them, as well as making sure that baristas had enough hours to learn their jobs well.

The outlet also cited corporate filings that indicated that Starbucks, despite opening 380 stores in the first 10 months of last year, ended the period having lost 29,000 employees in U.S. locations alone.


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Yet the company insisted to Bloomberg that it wasn’t suffering from staffing issues.

“Starbucks said callouts are at record lows and workers at other stores can fill in shifts,” Sirtori wrote. “Baristas may ascribe some problems to staffing issues even if they can be fixed in other ways, executives said.”

Starbucks stock was down over 17 percent year-to-date, and was down slightly in Wednesday trading as of late morning.

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George Upper is the former Editor-in-Chief of The Western Journal and was a weekly co-host of “WJ Live,” powered by The Western Journal. He is currently a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. A former U.S. Army special operator, teacher and consultant, he is a lifetime member of the NRA and an active volunteer leader in his church. Born in Foxborough, Massachusetts, he has lived most of his life in central North Carolina.

George Upper, is the former editor-in-chief of The Western Journal and is now a contributing editor in the areas of faith, politics and culture. He currently serves as the connections pastor at Awestruck Church in Greensboro, North Carolina. He is a former U.S. Army special operator, teacher, manager and consultant. Born in Massachusetts, he graduated from Foxborough High School before joining the Army and spending most of the next three years at Fort Bragg. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English as well as a Master’s in Business Administration, all from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He and his wife life only a short drive from his three children, their spouses and his grandchildren. He is a lifetime member of the NRA and in his spare time he shoots, reads a lot of Lawrence Block and John D. MacDonald, and watches Bruce Campbell movies. He is a fan of individual freedom, Tommy Bahama, fine-point G-2 pens and the Oxford comma.


Foxborough, Massachusetts




Beta Gamma Sigma


B.A., English, UNCG; M.A., English, UNCG; MBA, UNCG


North Carolina

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Faith, Business, Leadership and Management, Military, Politics

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