Starbucks Baristas Claim the Company Is Ignoring a Few Major Issues

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It seems like Starbucks has a few issues they need to sort out.

Business Insider interviewed dozens of current and former Starbucks employees and each had some interesting things to say about the company.

"Most people see Starbucks as a well-run operation," said one recent employee. "But being on the inside, I've found many flaws and wonder how this place makes money."

The coffee chain’s new CEO, Kevin Johnson, wants to open 5,000 new stores worldwide by 2021, but baristas say the company needs to address a few key issues before they start expanding.

Last June, a Starbucks employee created a petition to ask for more workers during shifts because the "lack of labor is killing morale." Almost a year later and the company is still understaffed, with many employees feeling "like they’re drowning sometimes."

"Most stores are understaffed and I believe that's the way corporate wants it," a barista said. "Store managers would rather be shorthanded rather than pay a penny of overtime."

MORE: Starbucks Released a New Frappuccino and Brought Back a Fan Favorite for Summer

Employees would also appreciate an improvement in their pay. "I don't know how many times I've heard that we're the most important part of the company," said one barista. "I almost wish they would read that same letter they read to us, to the board, so they could know why they need to change the pay scale. If we're the most important part of the company, and our connection is that important, [they shouldn't be] paying as little as they can get away with paying."

Another former barista added, "It’s a cult that pays $9 per hour."

According to the employees, the relationship between baristas and corporate workers needs to be strengthened. Another current barista also revealed corporate does not want their employees interacting with customers as much.

Starbucks released a statement to Business Insider in response to the interviews.

"Over the years, one of the strengths of our business has continued to be the connection we have with our partners," a Starbucks representative said. "We know we are not perfect, but we are regularly engaged in discussions with the over 160,000 partners who wear the green apron in the US and continuously work to make their experience even better and more valuable. We know when we exceed the expectations of our people, they, in turn, exceed the expectations of our customers. To us, every voice matters."


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Sarah Halper |

After graduating from the University of Iowa with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communications as well as Sports Management, Sarah Halper has put plenty of time and effort in perfecting her reporting skills. She is a true pop culture enthusiast at heart, which makes for a wide variety of knowledge. When she isn’t consuming timely news, you can find her enjoying her favorite sporting events and eating her way through Chicago.