It’s a story where nobody is happy: Customer wait times at Starbucks are rising, and barista tips are falling.
Some employees who want to work cannot find shifts at all; other employees say they are working until they are “exhausted.”
This is the new reality at many Starbucks locations, according to a BuzzFeed news report. Employees are so disgruntled that more than 13,000 have signed a petition decrying “some of the most extreme labor cuts in Starbucks history,” says a separate CBS MoneyWatch report.
According to these employees, Starbucks began dramatically trimming back on worker shifts earlier this summer. CBS reports that one employee posted the following on Facebook:
“My store gets crazy busy with it being tourist season and being by the beach and Starbucks is making it to where there is 3 people on what usually is a 6 person floor. We’re exhausted and need more people.”
For its part, Starbucks contends nothing has changed in regard to its labor strategy. A spokesperson told BuzzFeed that managers handle staffing as needed at each individual store.
But Starbucks’ employees — including some managers — are telling a different story. CBS reports that the employee petition lays out several grievances:
“Tips are in major decline. When you factor that in with actual take home pay, it’s a scary place to be,” the petition said. “Hours are becoming more elusive as store managers hire 10-20 employees at 20-25 hours a week, sacrificing tenured employees.”
And as the number of employees working the floor falls, customers are noticing longer wait times. One customer called for change after posting on social media that he had to wait 25 minutes for a latte, which he deemed a “new low in customer service,” according to BuzzFeed.
CBS says it is unclear why Starbucks would cut back on worker shifts. However, Starbucks reported slowing sales growth in the second quarter. The slowdown may have been the result of controversy surrounding Starbucks’ revamped loyalty program.
In addition, labor costs may be a factor. Starbucks intends to raise worker wages in October. And almost precisely one year ago, Starbucks reported that store operating expenses rose more than 18 percent due to “investments in our store partners (employees).”
That was a fancy way of acknowledging Starbucks’ wage hikes in response to minimum wage laws passed in Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco, CNN Money reported at the time.
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