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August 17, 2004


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this is how every retail store in the world conducts business - the secret shopper part. it's a GREAT way to audit and determine if the policies put in place at a national level are being followed at the store level.


Regarding the secret shopper part - personally I'd like to be one of those, so I could bust on the Starbucks near me. Here's the thing: when they moved into the Chicago area, they were famous for "customer service." Things like, if your drink didn't get made fast enough, you got a coupon for your next drink free. Anytime they did anything remotely screwy, you got a free drink. These days, I go in, they screw up, and nothing happens. Last week I went in, ordered a pretty basic drink (iced grande decaf Americano) - and the cashier had no idea what I was talking about. It took 2 minutes for her to get help from another cashier.


what's the deal with S/B's tip jar ? do the workers actually see any cash? if so, how is it dist'd ?


Tips are collected and distributed weekly by the shift supervisors; managers aren't even allowed to touch the tip jar. A percentage of the cash is distributed to all baristas based on hours worked during the week the tips were collected.


And it's not quite true that managers are encouraged to keep their employees from earning benefits. A percentage of bonuses are based on something called "controllable contributions" - how much of your budget is flexible spending (as opposed to fixed costs, like rent). Flexible spending includes payroll. Managers are encouraged to use as few concurrent employees for a shift as possible while still ensuring the stores are adequately staffed.

No, I don't work for Starbucks, but I do have friends on the inside. I have no vested interest in supporting Starbucks - they do some stuff I don't like, too. But mis-information doesn't help anyone.


Jim, are you checking any of this info or just running with whatever they wanna feed you?


the secret shopper concept is quite common in the retail biz. whatever the company decides is the mantra of "customer service" (selling up, offering extra specials, etc.) then the shopper grades them on that. some companies get VERY upset about not getting good scores.


I'm a secret shopper for Krispy Kreme. Most of the checks seem to be making sure the promotions are taking place, and that the crew is offering samples and upgrades. I don't think the company cares about the rest of the survey (wait time, bathroom conditions, etc), but they're still recorded.

Shawn Levasseur

Actually, older workers are considered better for benefits purposes, because of Medicare. Then again, you may not have been referring to THAT old when you were talking about "older" employees.

There's nothing underhanded or sinister about secret shoppers; it's a common practice in the retail and foodservice business. We're all aware that we get periodic "snapshots" (Starbucks' name for the secret shoppers). They check specific areas of product and service quality: Was the drink made with the correct ingredients in the right proportions, the right temperature, within an acceptable amount of time? Were the employees courteous and knowledgeable (greeting and thanking customers; able to answer questions about the product)? Did they suggest upgrades or complementary items? (That's called *sales*, the business we're in.)

This is all really standard stuff, not particular to Starbucks at all. It's how restaurants and stores ensure consistency and quality control.

After a "snapshot", the results are printed out and posted in the back room for all of us to see. We can tell who was working at the time in what positions, what we did right and where there's room for improvement. The only thing that's kept secret is the shopper's identity.

By the way, the comment about baristas sharing "a percentage of" the tip money based on hours worked is technically correct - that percentage is 100%. Managers share in the tips for the time they work as baristas, but not for time spent doing administrative tasks.


So, how much is in the tip jar at the end of a shift or night???


Managers do not get one cent of the tips that come in the store. The store's weekly hours are divided into the total tips for the week. That number: say $1.50, is multiplied by the hours each partner works. So, if you worked 21 hours, you would recieve $31.50 in tips that week. If any manager is taking tips, they should be fired! They are on salary, recieve more benefits, and get bonuses every quarter, 15% of their salary. If a manager is working on the floor as a barista, they are hopefully connecting with their customers and coaching partners. It is against policy for store managers and assistant managers to even touch the tips. If you are stealing tips, stop!

As far as secret shoppers are concerned, it's a way to see how a store is doing, and over the course of time, what the manager does to remain consistent in service, quality, and cleanliness. Those three ten minute visits every three months can make or break careers. Starbucks takes the scores seriously, and if you have a bad quarter, you're in the dog house.

I am a Starbucks store manager and I can confirm that I do NOT receive any tips whatsoever. I cannot touch tips. I can't even change them out at the bank. It's a way to be above the board and respectful of my employees. It is a part of their income and I work very hard to help them get better tips.

In regards to the Snapshots: yes, we are graded 3x/ quarter. A portion of managers bonuses are determined by how well the store does on its average score for the quarter. The Snapshot is a quality control piece that reaffirms the values that Starbucks partners have identified as being important to the way that we do business. If you are getting bad service at your local Starbucks, please let them know. All of the my peers are interested in your comments.


Several older, very capable, qualified persons, besides myself (age 54) had a GREAT interview before the holidays. I stated that holiday, weekend, evening, whatever was NOT a problem. I was never even given a courtesy call back. I've never seen anyone behind the Starbucks counter who looks over 25 or 30 max. I feel this is an issue worth pursuing. There is an Act regarding elder hiring discrimination. Discrimination is against the law period! Anyone else out there had similar experiences? Please post comments.


So does anyone know how much starbucks managers make.


So does anyone know how much starbucks managers make.

Assistant managers start wit 35Gs... So managers makes more than that wit benefits, paid vacations and bonuses...


Said webmaster should know when he is being fed a bunch of shit.

In my district we get bonuses for making budget. I have to meet the 20 hour a week standard or my baristas will quit. We get bonuses just like most managers in retail do. You get a sales budget, sales goal and hours to work with. You work within those hours, try not to go into overtime and most managers respect their employees and work with them so they can keep their insurance. This is such crap.


Yes they do hire older employees. Starbucks is big on hiring at-home mothers and senior citizens. As for not getting callbacks? Well at my store we get about 5 applications a day. Lil known fact for people, call the store after your interview. Send a thank you note. This is what seperates you from others. Too many applicants, too few positions.

And a lil commonsensical thing for people to think about, it is usually easier to train a young person than an older one.


Okay, guess what? Assistant Managers do not make $35K a year... the starting salary is like $26K. My previous manager made $33K and he owned his own bar and restaurant for 20 years before coming to the bucks. If that isn't experience, I don't know what is.


i was considering a career change. any idea how much the baristas make? i am not looking to make a fortune, just a living.

barista c

kd - baristas start at close to minimum wage + tips which are often about 1.50 an hour.

cost of living in you area matters too. in rochester new york i am making 6.50 an hour but baristas in more expensive cities make maybe 7.50 an hour.

also, something i wish they had told me when i got hired askign for 40 hours a week -- baristas are considered part time employees. usually getting baout 25 hours a week. my manager is cool and i get about 30-35 hours a week, but other managers might be more strict and keepy our hours pretty low for someone who wants starbucks to be their full time job.


What are they paying starting managers these days?


thanx for the honest salary information. is it hard then to make a career out of a starbucks job? it sounds like it is. do tips help?

barista c

yes tips help a lot. we get about 2 bucks an hour at my store.

and it takes a while, but isn't too difficult too move up as far as i can tell. i would like to be a manager and though i'm not even a shift supervisor yet, i think it will be possible. and i hear they make pretty good money and have better stock options and benefits too.


Hey all. I work at Starbucks, and I'm a 34-yo mother. There is at least one other person at my store older than I am, and I see people at least in their 50s in stores all the time. My manager is very careful to ensure that I get enough hours to keep my benefits. I currently work as a PT shift supervisor, and I started at 9.25/ hr + tips. I have been a restaurant/ cafe manager in the past, and will probably pursue this with Starbucks, as well.


why in the world would anyone go into a Starbucks? The same drink is available almost everywhere else for less money.....what's up with this con?


So i just want to start by saying i work for starbucks. I wanted to comment on the pay thing. I know that the pay actually differs depending on what region you're in. I live in the chicago area and Assistants start out at 28,000 and managers i believe is now 34,000. So there ya go. Baristas here start at 7.50 now and shifts at 9.25 and then you get a review and hopefully a raise every six months. As for whether its easy or not to move up it depends on how hard you work and what your willing to put into it. if you stand around and watch everyone else do a project then you probably won't be but if you take the initiative to do things then that shows your a leader which is a huge part of promotion.

I work at starbucks in the los angeles area and my manager started out as a barista about 2 and a half years ago! i also work with someone who became shift supervisor in 3 months of working there. as for myself, i've been working for starbucks for about 5 months now and my manager already told me to get prepared to become a shift supervisor within the next month. so it's not hard to move up. all you gotta do is do your job and converse with customers.

barista fly

i live in the st. louis area and have been working as a barista for a few months. i get $6.75/hr and our tips are usually only around $1-$1.50 per hour. however, we're still a fairly new store and as we continue to get busier, tips go up. they go up during the holidays as well. i have never seen my manager touch the tips and she is very good about scheduling the baristas at least 20 hours per week. honestly, starbucks is extraordinarily good to their part time employees. how many other companies do you know that give part time employees medical, dental, life and disability insurance? and 25% match on 401k contributions (vested from the beginning on that match too)? it is hard enough to get these things working full time these days.

all what you make it

i've been working at a bux in the lake tahoe area (NV/CA) for over a year now and as a shift sup make ~$9/hr plus $2.75-3.25/hr in tips and get as many hrs as i want, usually..... the town is small but customers are loyal. this business is all about what you make it. there are definite pluses (benefits, co-workers) as well as downsides (corporate run-around, job repetition) but hey, most days it beats a cubicle! if you care enough to complain so much, just leave...


Regarding the tip jar:I used to work for Starbucks. I've also worked for a couple other coffee companies, including Java City. At Starbucks I would only receive about $30 per week even though the jar was always overflowing. Java City-more like 100 per week. Point is-those tips are skimmed by whoever counts them. Stop tipping at Starbucks until this is publically changed!!

So because it happened at your store, it must be happening at all stores. Whatever.

hey you i know you

i sincerely doubt our tips our skimmed... even if the "jar is overflowing", it is usually with ones and there are quite a few partners splitting the money. there should be enough eyes on the tips and on the cameras to avoid too many swindlers. plus, if we caught another barista stealing our tips, that person's life would SUCK at work.


I know several people over 40 who work at Starbucks, my husband (57) included. I think it depend on the area you're in. If you're in a college area, you'll see more younger people working because that's the main population. In our area there's aren't too many colleges, but there are lots of displaced techworkers who are working at Starbucks. The money's less, but the benefits are worth it.


About the tip jar, when I was working for Starbucks, they introduced the Starbucks card and tips plummeted. Nobody was bringing in cash anymore! One time we had an employee who'd skim off a few bucks from the tip jar when no one was looking, but they eventually got caught.


A friend has worked at Starbucks 10 months, and she is never at 20 hours and gets full benefits, that is why she stays. All tips are divided equally per hour worked, and that is an added benefit. She has been treated generously. I have also a mug from Osaka. A Japanese friend cannot live without her Starbucks. She brought me a mug and I took her to the headquarters in Seattle. The mug was high quality, but she prefers Americano as in Japan they feel that is perceived to be what most Americans would like!

Treesa Suggs

I am interested in becoming a secret shopper, any one know how I would go about it? Thanks

caff junkie

Any manager should be ashamed to take any tips, whether it's for working as a barista or not. In my opinion they make pretty good salaries. I do have a question about the bonus thing though. Do they get a bonus every quarter equal to %15 of their salary or is their annual bonus equal to 15% and paid out each quarter. That's quite a difference.


Employee Benefits have no effect on a Manager's bonus whatsoever anymore. As of FY 05, Employee benefits have been moved below the Controllable Contribution line and are considered to be Non-Controllable costs.

Suggestive selling is not measured or scored on Snapshots


If I may add to all this misinformation; and support a few of the folks who posted CORRECT info:

Tips: No Store Manager is allowed to count, receive - even look at tips. Our job is merely to ensure they are properly tracked and accounted for by an hourly paid manager.

Benefits: Store Managers have never been encouraged to cut back on employee benefits, or keep them below 20 hours per week. In fact, it is just the opposite. The company spends a lot of time and money teaching managers and all employees about their benefits. Also as Zenbarista stated; the cost for benefits does not affect managers bonuses in any way.

Older workers: I commented before, this varies before, but any smart manager hires based on experience and personality. Older workers can be a huge advantage because it is generally easier to retain them because they have a better work ethic, don't call in with hang-overs, and they need insurance, a benefit I am happy we have.

Salary: Starbucks pays different salaries based upon the cost of living in the area you live in. The highest paid managers, (and ASM's and baristas), live in Manhattan, Boston and San Fran, next is folks who live in places like Chicago and Washington DC, etc. A Manager who lives in say, Jacksonville Florida, will receive a HUGE raise if he moves to Boston, because it costs a HUGE amount to live there. If you want to know how much they pay, don't ask on a website, that's a bit rude. Is it enough to support oneself, yes, but everyone has a different 'comfortable' income level. Starbucks managers are not Doctors. Also SBUX does not keep these pay scales a secret to its Managers. Any salaried person can access a special website to view the pay scales.

Secret Shopper: There is no such question asked about 'Do you want a pastry?' They look at quality, service and cleanliness of the store. Managers and Assit Managers, do get bonus based on these shops. Baristas get positive (or corrective) feedback on their performance during these secret shops.

Last comments: Benefits are an awesome benefit which helps managers to retain employees and lower turnover. It is MUCH less inexpensive to the individual store to pay benefits than have to rehire and train new employees. High turnover will KILL a managers bonus.

Quit believing everything that my cousins, sisters, friend who used to at Starbucks says.... If you have a real question, go ask!

If you work for Starbucks and you feel something screwy is going on - TELL SOMEONE. SBUX takes dishonest managers and coworkers very seriously. Call your District Manager or the Code of Conduct hotline, you can remain anonymous and they WILL investigate.


I am a Barista at Starbucks, and I just wanted to say that the secret shopper technique does not have to do with upselling, or suggestive selling. I worked at a Paramount theater and our whole training was completely based on this theory. However, at starbucks I was never told to try and get people to eat something with there coffee. The secret shopper is there to see if the store is providing the legendary service starbucks wants all its stores to provide. Points are provided first for basic service (facilities clean, how long it takes to be greated, to make there drink, etc. the quality of the drink temp, weight.) The test then goes on to legendary service this is going beyond the norm of customer service. Is anyone in line being personally greated, are the barista's starting any conversations with customers.

Personally, I like working for a company where you're encouraged to talk with people not just move them through just to ring the next person in, ofcourse this attitude makes barista's happy, it also makes customers happy. sure starbucks may have some questionable competition methods, but in the end sbux started out as a little coffee shop in seattle and all they did was provide quality coffee and excellent customer service to get a couple more stores and a couple more, and now with more than 8000 stores all across the world they still do well because of the quality coffee the great atmosphere and the "legendary service" our customers take for granted only at starbucks


Hey, Im interested in becomming a barista at starbucks. But I dont want to be put on the job before I know how to make a drink, do the new hiree's learn most of the drinks before hand?


Kayla, in my opinion training at Sbux is relatively extensive, however I believe this to be manager based. Ideally, you would be given a barista guidebook, one section of which is devoted completly to espresso drinks, you should be given about an hour or 2 to finish it. Full training is held over a nine day "practice" period both on and off the floor (you may at times feel as if your being thrown into things, staying calm is the most important thing) ending with a "barista certification". So by the time you could actually be held accountable for anything, you should be ready to rock, or at least have a fair foundation to rock.

jadum yang

hi i wanna to know if you would like to help me on my project. I need to know what is your budget so i can finish my project so if you help it would be very nice thank you.

jadum yang


Someone asked this question before but no one answered it. Do Assistant Managers and Managers get a bonus every quarter equal to 15% of their yearly salary or is that quarterly bonus equal to 15% of their quarterly salary or is that 15% of their weekly salary?

Thanks for any input


ASM is 10%


So then an ASM gets 10%? I thought both got 15%. Also someone said yearly... is that 10% once in the year of their yearly salary? so if an ASM makes 32 then he will get a 3200 bonus once a year? or is that 3200 divided up by 4 quarters?

Depending on all the controllable's and snapshot results you have bonus potential of 10-15% of your yearly salary, depending on position 4 times a year, that's once every fiscal quarter. It is not usual that you make the entire amount, unless you're running a perfect store. By the way an asm make under 30 g's, more like 28/29. Store managers start around 34 in my area. So if a store manager was to reach full bonus potential according to all financial's(we'll exclude snapshot add on's)that would equal $20,400 pre-tax. If your snapshot results were to meet company expectations you could earn more.

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