8 Conflicting Rules Starbucks Employees Must Follow

A Starbucks coffee shop can be a busy place, with dozens of complex orders every few minutes during the morning or lunchtime peak and dozens of menu items that must be carefully prepared to keep customers happy. And with a staggering 15,430 Starbucks scattered across America as of 2022, that’s a lot of orders for a lot of customers.

So it makes perfect sense that Starbucks workers have a set of rules they must follow to keep such a booming giant company on track. But some specific rules that Starbucks employees follow will surprise and confuse you nonetheless. One of the toughest policies a company has on its employees? An almost total requirement to say yes to customers, even though Starbucks customers can be notoriously rude and demanding.

Here Eight Conflicting Rules Starbucks Employees Must Follow.

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Aside from an apron and, in some places, a hat or visor, Starbucks employees don’t technically have a uniform. But there is a dress code. Employees are told to wear shirts in “muted” colors such as grey, black, white or navy blue. At the very least, the company has reversed course to ban all displays of political sentiment by allowing BLM shirts and badges from mid-2020, reportedly. New York Times.

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Starbucks employees can’t come to work with their hair dyed one color today and another color the next. According to the Starbucks dress code guide, while multicolored hair is allowed, temporary hair coloring (or highlights or icing) is not allowed. While this policy may seem restrictive, it is more about food safety than expression control.

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While Starbucks employees are on duty, they must stay where they are, according to Worldation. Baristas cannot move from one set of duties to another during a given shift, so even if one station suddenly becomes very busy and another is slow, they don’t have to change activities to help.

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According to business insider, Starbucks employees must strictly adhere to store hours. They are not allowed to let anyone into the store even a minute before the advertised opening hours, and they must kick everyone out the minute the store closes for the day.

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If you like expressing yourself through piercings, you better feel expressive enough with a maximum of two earrings in your ear and a stud in your nose, according to Yahoo! Any other piercings must be removed or covered while the worker is in the store. Rings (except one wedding ring) and bracelets are also prohibited. And if you have tattoos on your face or neck, you won’t get a job as a Starbucks barista, according to the rules set out in the company’s lookbook.

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Starbucks employees have a duty to never turn down a customer, even if they make ridiculous demands, which happens all the time, reports Worldation. So when someone demands a 10-step customization or asks for a prepared drink from a secret menu, the worker simply has to do their best to please the person, even if the requirements are almost impossible to meet.

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Starbucks baristas must follow a very specific formula for making mixed drinks such as Strawberry Açaí Lemonade Starbucks Refresher Beverage, and this formula involves shaking the drink at least 10 times to mix it. Although in practice most of these drinks receive much less than 10 cocktails.

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Despite the restrictions, it makes sense for Starbucks employees to be banned from investing in competing companies. For example, if an employee owned several hundred shares of Peet’s Coffee or Dutch Bros, he or she might be more interested in the success of those other chains than in the performance of Starbucks. But according to the Starbucks Guide to Standards of Business Conduct, even close relatives of an employee are prohibited from “making a substantial direct investment in such a firm” without risking the employee being fired.

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Stephen John

Stephen John is a freelance writer for Eat this, not that! based near New York. Read more

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