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October 07, 2008


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Where are they getting their numbers from? Out store is one of the stores in our city that is open shorter hours (thought not as short as stores located in malls or office towers), but if a full time person had to be available 70% of the hours the store is open, that's 70 hours a week they would have to be available for! That's almost twice as many hours as the definition of full time hours (40 hours). I know you don't have to work that, but I don't understand how they could ask that much availability from a person.

Mike Whalen

Oh come on. You really think that they're going to make you work 70 hours a week? Maybe I'm a little naive, but I think they wouldn't force this upon anyone ... except the IT department of course! ;-)

arabica bean

My district has been enforcing a 20 hour availability requirement since Christmas last year. Every barista or shift supervisor must be available 20 hours each week, but they are not guaranteed to get 20 hours. We still have some partners who got around the system and are technically available 20 hours but never even come close to working it.

I love the idea of fewer partners working more hours, they would all know what's going on in the store (recent changes, new promos, etc).

Moved on...

Noone thinks they're going to be scheduled 70 hours.
The problem is that if you reserve the time for Starbucks, you can't be available for a second job. Then, if Starbucks doesn't schedule you, you were effectively 'on-call' with nothing to show for it.
This could be a good thing since I can recall hating working with those baristas who only came in once a week and didnt really know what they were doing. Plus I worked with plenty of great baristas who wanted more hours and had to get second job or quit all together when they didnt get them because we were over-staffed.
This could be bad, tho, if Starbucks ends up not being able to provide 'reserved' partners with the hours they want-this would cause even more great partners to leave the company, and Starbucks simply can not afford that.


I'm not saying they're going to make anyone work 70 hours a week Mike, you are reading my post incorrectly. That's illegal.

But they are asking someone to be available for 70 of the possible 100 hours that the store is open (According to the WSJ article, it say they are asking full time partners to be available for 70% of the hours the store is open. Reading it, it sounds like to me they are asking partners to be available for all of the hours the store is open, so add up the hours the store is open and figure out what 70% is, in my stores case, it's 100 hours total, so 70 hours of availability).

The math does not add up since full time is only 40 hours. I'm wondering how they came up with this insane number and how it's suppose to make any sense.

I know that it isn't likely anyone will get a full 40 hours. I work part time and am asked to be available for 24 hours as a shift supervisor, but usually work closer to 16-20 hours per week. I'm sure a lot of people will be happy to have a more consistent work week (as opposed to those weeks some partners get 6 hours when they really needed 20 to make rent).

I just wonder why the ALS asks for the 70% of the open store hours availability for full time partners. It just doesn't make sense, unless WSJ totally screwed up their facts writing this article.


Clarification: working 70 hours a week is illegal, not you reading the post wrong.


Being available 70 hours is completely reasonable. The scheduling system schedules people based on what the store needs to operate (sales, product mix, etc.). It runs through a chain of how many should be on at a given time and who is available. The more your available the more likely you will be scheduled more often. If you are only available 40 hours and you want the 30 the system will probably give you about 16-20. If you are available 70-80, you'll be scheduled around 30-40. This new process of scheduling will also take into account what you prefer to work and the manager is supposed to when possible schedule around that preferred time.


No, WSJ is right, it's printed right there at the bottom of the new availability forms. It would be nice if we could have instead grandfathered in the existing baristas under a more realistic availability expectation (150% of worked hours, full time or part time) and applied the 70% rule only to new hires. It really is too much for someone who wants 32 hours a week, and yes, there should be an option for a guaranteed 40 so that it might be conceivable to actually pay all the bills for once without taking a loss for working somewhere where we love what we do.

Moved on...

Starbucks wants staff to be available that much because they want to have staff that are hungry for hours and who will therefor come in whenever scheduled or called.
I am BY NO MEANS endorsing that, but it's what Starbucks, and most companies, want. I worked for Starbucks for almost 10 years and remember well how hard it was to get anyone to come in when someone had called out...It's possible that it'll work out that fewer partners WILL get more hours which will create an overall better environment in the stores, but it's also possible that most of the great partners who cannot be available 70% of operating hours will quit and Starbucks will be left with a staff base who has nowhere better to be...


As the stock closed at 12 bucks a share.


I really don't see what is different with this then what I am already doing!(we do not have it in Ontario, Canada yet, I think it starts in Q2 here) When I heard this was coming I was excited b/c I thought we would be able to guarantee 40 hours to partners and not have partners work less then 20. But this seems like the same thing I am doing now. I only have 13 partners but am in a slower developing area, All my shifts and baristas are available 70% to 100% of the time. But I still cant give my shifts over 30hours on a good week or most baristas over 12-15 hours. I have people wanting to leave b/c they need close to 40 just to pay bills.


I really don't see how being available 70 hours a week isn't reasonable. I don't see how that impedes on your abilty to get a second job if need be.

It is EXTREMLY hard to give some one 32 hours a week if they are only availble 32 hours a week. It is just as hard to get them them 32 hours a week if they are avaialbe 40 or 42! Business changes from day to day week to week. Other partners' availabities complicate things as well. This new system WORKS. People need to be available if they want hours, that's how it has ALAWYS been, now it's just written down for those who need rules.


Just to clarify, the "full time" requirement is 70% of store operating hours, including 1 hr before we unlock doors and 1 hr after we close.

Let's say your store has 18 operating hours in a day. You would have to have availability of 88 hours a week, or 12.6 hours a day/seven days a week, just to get your measly 32. How does that make sense?


"t's also possible that most of the great partners who cannot be available 70% of operating hours will quit and Starbucks will be left with a staff base who has nowhere better to be..."

As if that weren't already the case! :p


That was a dig at our wages, btw. You really do have to have nowhere better to be than to start at the base barista wage these days.

Would love to work more

Here is my frustration...Why can't partners with more seniority and experience get a fixed schedule. We have 3-4 partners at my store that always meet and exceed expectations on reviews and have been with the company 3-5 years. We are the partners that show up for work on time, never call off and do awesome job of connecting with the customers in the morning. We have their drinks ready as they walk in the door and make the business run smooth. I for one would love to work at least 25-30 hours a week but am usually scheduled about 15-20. Now the manager has hired 3 new people to fill in. So now they are working some peak times and frankly screwing it up. Speed of service has fallen, and customers will walk out the door if not attended to fast enough. Why hire if partners want to work??? My availability is 6 days a week from open to 4:00pm. 72 availabile hours and I am scheduled 15-20 while some partners who are only available 2 evenings or 12 a week are scheduled 100% of their availability. If our manager is approached about it he gets really defensive and tells us that we are telling him how to do his job. He is on the verge of loosing 3 partners but since we are in the higher pay scale, he will probably look good by cutting expenses if we leave. Its a no win situation.

Moved on...

"Would love to work more" :

The reason why partners with more "seniority" don't get better schedules is because the concept of seniority is largely a Union term. A company that is not bound by a Union contract is not obligated to give anyone anything. Not to mention that without a good collective agreement, a company can take away anything they've given us. I know Unions are a hot button topic, suffice it to say that some of us think they are a good thing and some of us don't but that IS the answer to "would love..."'s question.


As with any new system there are pros and cons dependent on a variety of factors. A concern I have though is that this is just another system that takes away from a manager. What I mean by that is that I know my store. I know how it runs, when it's busy, who my customers are and what the community wants from me. This system takes that knowledge and says it's unimportant. An example of what I mean is that I used to have a DM who wanted a more "energetic" store...no matter how many times I told him that he may want that but my customers don't. I even gave him the opportunity (he declined) to come in and speak with them. Anyway, I think time will tell as to the overall benefits and deficits with the new system. It does have to be given a chance and ultimately, all auto schedules can always be overridden.

Pat Nerr

"Mr. Russell said that in test markets workers liked the program because eventually it gave them more-regular schedules. He said the labor-cost improvements will come from a lower turnover rate and lower training costs."

we'll see about the validity of this statement when the next Top 100 comes out and the next employee engagement survey... should be something to be proud of

Pat Nerr

no mention from the VP about the benefits savings that the company is banking on and the real reason this is all happening?

Moved on...


Good post! So much for partners taking ownership of their stores...
I suppose one of the Pros of this for a SM could be not having to take blame when the program schedules badly...
I hope it turns out well for everybody.


I agree with Pat Nerr. This is simply a cost-cutting issue. Lean efficiency is the bottom line and is the motivation for everything coming out of headquarters these days. And from the employees' perspective it's not necessarily going to be logical, or fair, or convenient. It's also not designed to help the employees who wanted to work longer hours. Although that's the spin, it's not the real bottom line goal. And it's not really for serving the customers better either. Well, maybe more hours for employees and better service for customers might trickle out of it, but that's not the ultimate goal. Trying to run a floundering company in a VERY bad economy is really the ultimate goal, and employees and customers are just bit players in the grand scheme.

Starbucks, based in Seattle, introduced its program about a week ago as part of a broader effort to revive the company

Ya see, that's really it right there... "part of a broader effort to revive the company". The rest of the comments are just more spin.

Sbux tried to be a company that cared about its workers, and about its customers. But now that's changing. Times are tough. Don't take it personally or distress yourself too much when you realize it's not the company it once was. As a customer I'm sure not getting my hopes up that sbux will serve me better with these new scheduling changes... (not yet anyways ;-))

Would love to work more

While I do understand that seniority is a union term, as my husband is a union member, I don't look at it that way when it comes to Starbucks. It is a shame that Starbucks wants partners to treat each other with respect and dignity but at times refuses to treat partners the same way. The way I see it, I have provided legendary service to Starbucks customers for almost 4 years, have received exceeds expectations on all of my reviews, and really enjoy my job. This should entitle me to some sort of preferential treatment as to scheduling. I am not saying this because I am better than anybody else because we have other partners that have also earned this. We are a strong team and our manager does not appreciate it. This manager has been in the store for only about 9 months and it seems he wants to build his own team and exclude the partners that were there with the previous manager. Oh well, it might be time to move on.

Cut Out The Heart

Yet another example of Starbucks becoming just like every other employer. The funny thing is that Fast Food chains actually offer more flexibility then the new Starbucks schedule. Oh, how the might have fallen.

Moved on...

"Would love to work more"

I agree with you 100%! A good SM would appreciate all you do by giving you more hours...it's just plain good business to do so! Not to mention the right thing for their Partners.
Things like not using your Human Resources to their best potential is one reason why companies get into trouble.
I left and now I work less and make more. Starbucks was not the most efficient company I ever worked for...

as an SM, i am loving this, and so are my partners. we all enjoy more stability in schedules, our sleep patterns will thank us, we can actually plan our life, get to know customers, etc. i currently don't have anyone who doesn't meet the PT requirements - i wouldn't hire anyone who couldn't work 3-4 days anyway. i've worked in stores before with partners who only work 1-2 days, and i COMPLETELY understand that a lot of them started there full time and just didn't want to quit when they got another job, but even before things started changing so rapidly, it was incredibly difficult to keep them in the know on what was going on in the store, district, and company. it is becoming more and more difficult, and it negatively affects the partners who are there more frequently, trying to make up for what those partners aren't up to date on.

i've told my partners their schedules will look about 90% the same week to week. they can still put in requests like normal. they can still take time off. they can still trade shifts. that is why we need some flexibility in availability. i may have a partner who normally does 32 hours, but if another partner goes on vacation, i may need them to do 36. i need them to have enough availability to do that. same with my PT people. they may normally do 20, but i may occasionally need them to do 25.

but for the most part, this will give them a better sense of stability, teamwork, and customer connection. not to mention it cuts my scheduling time in 1/2, which opens up time for me to do 1:1s with partners and things that matter more than making a schedule.

if people don't like this system, it's b/c either a) they don't get it and/or are not doing it right (or have an SM not doing it right or explaining it correctly), or b) they're part of the few 1 day/week people who can't or won't open up their schedule. most of the people i knew who worked 1 day stayed just so they could get their markout and 30% discount on their way to their other job 5 days/week. as harsh as it may sound, from a business management perspective, that's not a good return on investment.


Why would I care what a union thinks about Starbucks' scheduling? Go away, union! Stop meddling.


Here, you need to be available 70% available of the total amount of hours the store is open. My store is open 128 hours so you need to be able to work 90.15 hours a week available. like, 18.25 a day.


I’m not sure I like this whole fixed scheduling idea. I’m sure it works great for café stores but what about other stores? I work at a store in an extremely busy high end mall and we don’t really see all that much of a repeat customer base. So the whole “get to know your barista” thing does not apply in this case. We have a bunch of awesome partners that are only available on weekends or evenings (our busiest times in inverse proportion to café stores). Losing these baristas, who have been with the company for years would hurt our operation during busy periods. It doesn’t take that long to clue them in too changes happening in the store and isn’t that why we have store meetings for the major changes? If those are the arguments for fixed schedules, I think that managers should have some autonomy in deciding whether or not to have fixed schedules on a store to store basis.


At my store you have to be available for 90 hours a week to be 'full time.' 90 hours is a little over 50 percent of the entire week - including time to sleep. If you take 8 hours per day out of the week (for sleep,) you're left with 112 waking hours. So, to be full time, you have to be available 90 out of 112 of your waking hours... that's 80 percent of your life. Obviously you wont ever work that much but that means you have to clear out your entire schedule EXCEPT for Starbucks, which eliminates a full class schedule, a second job, etc.

Doesn't seem right, does it?

Am I the only one thinking this??

The new system of using less partners to staff a store is going to tank when we have sick calls, more than one partner wants a week off, etc. In order to even honor the amount of partner requests on the schedule request forms we currently use you HAVE to be slightly overstaffed...

When we asked my dm about how we'd cover these sort of scenarios, she just shrugged and said we'll all have to work together as a district team to cover sick calls and vacations. Um, when's the last time she had to be on the phone for an hour trying to cover a Saturday close?

I wish the company would just admit they're trying to reduce costs with this, first and foremost. Telling us that the braintrust dreamed this up to benefit the customer experience is just insulting.

Just Facts

I tested this labor system in my store. It was great!!! My partner had very regular schedules from week to week. My customer voice scores went up greatly and it ended up building teams in my store that knew how to work together. The only cost savings was lower turn over and I could write a kick ass schedule in about ten minutes. I had complete control to make changes to adjust it to store needs. My sales went up to boot. If you are knocking this system then you just don't get it yet. I'm not saying that to be a dick, it does sound scary when you read it, but it's not bad at all.Your job will be easier because you know better who you work with and your schedule is more regularly set. Give it a chance, you'll love it!!!

just facts

PS-for all of you saying that starbucks is demanding you to block out 90 hours of your life to reach fulltime that is crap. Your schedules should be 2-3 weeks out which gives you more than the needed amount of time to still have a life. If you don't have schedules up that early talk to your dm, that's a company policy that is not being met by ur sm.


I think this new system will be great, personally...

I hate working with those partners that only are available 16 hours out of the entire week and work 8 hours out of the entire week and never have a clue about what's going on with ANYTHING.

If this gets rid of them, so be it.

Sounds harsh, I know...but in my experience more often than not those partners don't make any effort to stay on top of things...they make more of an effort to come in and get their markout and get drinks for every single person that works at their other job. I hate sacrificing my hours to those people.

I've worked two jobs many times, and when I couldn't fully commit myself to one for whatever reason...I left it, so as not to make those other people (or myself) suffer. I can't wait to see how this all works out.


My question, is the SM allowed to have our schedules set? No shift switching, unless approved and an emergency? I don't see why there is a problem, unless people stopped showing up for shifts they said they would cover..


I think this is great and thought we should do this for the past 2+ years. I just couldn't understand switching partners schedules around...sometimes one works in the morning and then 2 days later you close and then you do a mid. I totally thought we were missing the opportunity of connecting with customers on a more regular basis by having partners work the same time frame day to day. I'm very excited about this!


Just facts -

You mentioned "The only cost savings was lower turn over..." that's actually fantastic and it does cost a lot every time a partner leaves and we have to hire a replacement, so that is really great news!


Squidy -

I just worked at a mall store for about 6 months and found that we did have regular customers. All the mall employees that come in regularly to the store are "regulars". Plus we had mall walkers who would walk the mall and then come in. So I bet you have more regulars than you think.

Big Green Monkey

To be honest, I'm definitely one who would benefit from this new system. Beside the SM and ASM, I work more hours than everyone else in the store. I have completely open availability. If this means I get priority scheduling,more hours, and a close to fixed schedule, I'll be amazingly happy. The fact that I already have the most hours in the store should be evidence alone that I'm good at what I do. To be able to reap a few more tangible benefits from that would be awesome. Also, as I have open availability, I do work all shifts, open, mid, and close, and I see nearly all of our customers at least once a week, if not every other week. That's great, and I love it, but if I could concentrate on a certain segment of our customers, such as night owls, or afternoon treaters, then I feel I'd be able to make more of a connection with them, which would mean better, quicker service and a more genuine experience. I can't wait until we start this system up.


One thing I like about this new scheduling system is that my schedule is more consistent every week.

But it's sad because I barely see my other partners who work different shifts. So I wouldn't be able to talk to them as often. :(

Pat Nerr

If they're going to run "fixed schedule", they should just go back to the matrix charts and manage to labor percent. I have yet to see anyone come up with a good reason to measure "efficiency" or "variance to ideal". Labor percent is an efficient way to run your business and a good manager knows when to have partners scheduled. ALS is an outdated, homegrown mess with outdated time studies... ask any drive thru store manager that's experienced the hodge podge mess that ALS creates. A manual schedule would take a manager 30 min to an hour to create... manage to labor % again. I challenge anyone to come up with data that ALS is better... and I mean actual data, not good intentions data...


Starbucks, are you listening?

We all know someone over at corporate reads starbucksgossip daily to steal product ideas and keep tabs on what the workers think. That's why you created mystarbucksidea.

So if you're there, why don't you answer the questions that have been raised here? You only want to talk to people when it's on your terms, so you can be in the position of power. Come talk to us here.

There are some people that do like the new scheduling. But it seems to me there are a lot more that don't. They're all right here. We know you're reading this. So say something. Most of the people in this thread are your workers. All your managers claim to have "open door policies". So we can come to you any time with questions? Well we know you hear these questions. So answer them.


i HATE working the same shift week in and week out. as if this job wasnt repetitive and monotonous enough with 7000 caramel frappucinos every week. I don't see why they couldnt just modify ALS a bit or drop some partners with low availability? This sounds like a horrible idea.


ALS does allow you to "fix" schedules. I often did this as an SM with my regular openers. I never had a problem giving the people the hours that they wanted.

As for anyone that isn't avaiable to work more than 16 hours a week, they need to be gone anyway. As an SM I never hired people unless they had at least 20 hours of availability, and as a DM strongly encouraged my SMs to do the same. Stores need to schedule based on volume...not barista availability.

The whole 70% of store hours thing does seem somewhat high though as a store can be very well staffed with people that work a lot of hours, but have more limited availability...


I do not think that most people are objecting to the new scheduling. I think that those that object are just loud about it.
We have about 17 partners at my store. 2, that's T. W. O. partners who don't like it. And guess what? They moan and complain loudly because it is going to change their lives. Everyone else is going to feel an improvement; so we aren't griping. Also, these are the two people who work the least hours and never read the notices, etc. They are both really nice people with great personal and connecting skills. I will miss them.


Spence, there are more posting here that are against it than for it. Also, your store may not be average. At my store, the majority are definitely against this change. Also, I and others have gone around to almost every store in my district, and others around town, asking people what they thought of the scheduling, and more were against than for.

Starbucks hires people who have other commitments. Most people are students or work second jobs. If you're available at your store 80 hours, that makes it difficult to have the availability for your second job, or classes. And keep in mind starbucks starts workers at a poverty wage. If they paid a living wage to everyone, there would be no problem. People wouldn't need that second job. They wouldn't have to rely on students who just need any source of money.

So maybe the people at your store are whiners. I know plenty of people whose lives this will really turn upside down. Starbucks claims to be an industry leader in labor relations. They need to lead right now by offering closer to a living wage. Others will follow. Some other big coffee chains did with insurance.


I'm not sure if I really like the fixed scheduling part of it. This means the same people have to work the bad shifts over and over. And if I don't get along with someone as well I'm caught up with this person instead of just hoping next week will be better.

On the other side, it makes life much more easy to plan. Even though I have to be available the 70 percent to start with, if the schedule is mostly fixed Starbucks won't ever realize I do something else during the hours they want me to reserve for them. It's actually going to be easier to make personal plans a few weeks in advance.
Now I have to expect them to schedule me at any given time I gave them as my availability. Then I might get occasionally called in on unexpected shifts, but mostly it will be set in stone. This way my effective time I need to reserve exclusively for starbucks will be much less than now.
But since I'm a partner with not a great availability to start with I don't know. Like I said, I'm not sure I really like it.

What bothers me is they made up a general rule and it sounds like there are so many different situations out there as partners and stores. A one rule for all kind of thing doesn't really seem to cut it. Time will tell.


"i HATE working the same shift week in and week out. as if this job wasnt repetitive and monotonous enough with 7000 caramel frappucinos every week. I don't see why they couldnt just modify ALS a bit or drop some partners with low availability? This sounds like a horrible idea."

This is what I'm concerned about. Frankly, I'm not sure what it would be like to be constantly working the same shift over and over and over. I understand the positives that could bring, but the job is repetitive enough as it is, so I always welcomed the chance to work a close or two after opening for a long stretch, or having a mid shift tossed in here and there. But now am I going to be expected to just come in and open at 4:45 every morning for eternity? It seems like it would dramatically increase burnout rate. I could be wrong. I haven't tried it yet. That's just my concern.


Whatever saves the customer the most cash in the ways of not hiking up prices in the short and long term plus whatever will sav the company in operational expenses is fine by me.

I don't care if you want to have a prim and proper schedule including a schedule designed to whatever exacting standards you expect. Meet to the new standards designed by the execs to save some cash (and help out the investors) or quit. It's pretty easy. If you don't want to waste your time with a crappy job, go get educated and find a better one. For ONCE, SBUX sees a way to save money, and that will benefit the customers and investors. FINALLY, the customers/ investors are coming before the whiny baristas.


A huge percentage of baristas ARE "getting educated", which is one of the reasons the new scheduling will be a problem for many, but you know that quite well EB

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