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December 21, 2008

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CamSpi

love it. cannot wait to share with customers. can anyone tell me what this "tea time" bussiness is all about, though? there's a day on the calendar that says "tea time" or something like it.

has anyone tried the new GRTL? RIP ML. can't wait for the pissed off customers who'll take out their frustration on me.... but still, i honestly love the roobios tea. (is is ru-bose or ru-bee-ose?)

G

Wha? no more melon syrup? That's what >made< the green tea lattes...

Melody

G, I too am already missing melon syrup. It was fabulous in a passion tea lemonade instead of using classic syrup. :(

Venti Passion Tea Lemonade - 4 pump melon, 2 pump raspberry = wonderful!

beachbarista

I'm loving this. Something completely new - I was getting tired of these odd creations they've been coming up with lately. This sounds wonderful!! Our customers will love these new tea drinks ...

BCbarista

Just so everyone knows, it's spelled Rooibos (Afrikaans for "Red Bush") and pronounced ROY-BOSS.

Looking forward to hearing people try and pronounce that one....haha.

I forget which date it is, but there's going to be a special day ("Tea Time") where we talk about and sample the new teas, which I think is pretty neat!

There's also going to be a couple new coffees coming out in whole bean, which is pretty exciting.

I just love the fact that I can now call a "Vanilla Earl Grey Tea Misto" a London Fog! Hooray!

but how are we going to do this tea time without noncoverage and labor cut below the bare minimum? hahaha. oh seattle. you're so silly! :)

Angiebux

I'm going to miss melon a lot. GRTLs were my fave.
And soy GRTLs without water are gross and dry. I suppose I could still just order it with water anyways.

What about Green Tea Creme Frappaccinos? Were'nt those made with melon?
Maybe melon will return over summer.

Whispers suggest that melon is being cleared out for the return of valencia. Its one of the biggest ideas on both the partner and customer sides of mystarbucksidea.

artgurl84

so, can someone please tell me how i order my "hot-venti-soy-no melon, sub raspberry-no water-extra foam-green tea latte" so that it tastes relatively the same? i would assume that as they are changing the recipe to be made without water that they are changing the matcha also, so the ratio will not be the same as i currently order. but i could be wrong. ugh... and i finally got this down to a science after several years.

bean barrage

How about an oatmeal latte? Or just air packaged and sold as gourmet. This is all kind of foolish to me, regardless of how good or bad it may taste. Right now, people want a place to get away from it all (remember, the third place) and to be able to relax with their old faves. The focus should be on retention of customers and profits by keeping service levels up and keeping prices down. Instead this is all like a desperate fast food establishment 86'ing service and introducing a bunch of gimmicky BS. Like the oatmeal. What a loss of focus SBUX has undergone.

Melody

I know this is a small little point, but are they really launching the new teas on a Saturday? It seems like an odd day of the week to launch something new. The 3rd is a Saturday, but Starbucks gets a huge chunk of its business Monday through Friday.

Looking forward to trying them! :)

Gord

artgurl:

It will be easier for you now... all you need to order is a "venti, soy, raspberry extra foam green tea latte". :)

the dude

I love tea! but like I said on another posting Starbucks is going to pull this bullshit becuze these drinks are cost effective and bux can charge a higher price for tea and get away with it. for example: vivannos(Bananas etc.) keep searching HGoward and Marketing team youwill not find the answer cuz the answer to get us back on track is getting enough coverage on the bar floors and bring back the real bux experience that our customers love so much. Yes let's stop with the bullshit gimmick drinks. do I get a free cracker jack toy with that tea latte?

A few things:

The matcha isn't changing; instead it will be steamed in the pitcher with milk and aerated to create a more consistent frothy beverage.

Secondly, I am consistently saddened by the lack of quality that partners have in the details of being a barista--exemplified in this thread by improper "calling of a beverage". The proper way to call artgurl's beverage as it will soon be called out is: "venti, raspberry, soy, extra foam(y), green tea latte."

Not criticizing for the sake of criticizing, but rather a call to being the best baristas that one can be; taking pride in what we do and in the fact that we have systematized ways of doing things to help us in our jobs and reducing confusion and error.

Again, not criticizing an individual (I understand everyone is on a different learning curve). How can one be better if not spurred on to be better? That's all this post is trying to do.

anony

since this is an open thread, I will ask a relatively trivial question: Does anyone know of any stores in Seattle that will be open on Christmas day?

SoyMMM

Secondly, I am consistently saddened by the lack of quality that partners have in the details of being a barista--exemplified in this thread by improper "calling of a beverage". The proper way to call artgurl's beverage as it will soon be called out is: "venti, raspberry, soy, extra foam(y), green tea latte."


Are you serious?!

Give me a break.

There are way more meaningful and important details an excellent barista can focus on.

FLA SM

"I am consistently saddened by the lack of quality that partners have in the details of being a barista--exemplified in this thread by improper "calling of a beverage". The proper way to call artgurl's beverage as it will soon be called out is: "venti, raspberry, soy, extra foam(y), green tea latte." "

Maybe if we were allowed to have the proper amount of training hours and non-coverage hours to give our baristas a fighting chance to learn, you would have no complaints. However, when partners are given zero time (actually negative time, if you think about it) to learn about the new beverage platform, it'll be a wonder if anyone will know how to call the new drinks. Or mark the cups. Or make them without spending the first week reading the recipe off the card as the drink is made. Actually, it will be a wonder if anyone is left in the store to call those drinks once they see how few hours they will be getting once the holidays are over. It will also be amazing if there are any customers ordering drinks for much longer as they become increasingly disgusted with the longer lines & wait times, dirtier stores, and frazzled, less-than-legendary baristas. Of course that's assuming their favorite store is still even open and hasn't been shut down.

You will get a higher "quality that partners have in the details of being a barista" when they are able to receive proper training, a decent number of hours, a reasonable expectation of having enough other partners on the floor to help with the workload, and a company that upholds it's values of "respect & dignity" instead of it's current state of "act first - think later."
Outrageous as it may seem, offering the baristas a decent wage and a true "total pay package" instead of the current bogus deal (worthless stock options, lowered health care coverage for higher premiums, the new fiasco around 401k) could inspire some people to become the best baristas they can be. In the meantime, just as they say in the computer field, "Garbage in, garbage out."

majicat

i know of one store open on christmas day downtown and that would be the 7th and pike store ..

sbuxbarrista

Grr. I love having melon in my zen tea mistos...:(

Mrs. Tillinghamshackles

How are tea lattes a gimmick? They are much less gimmicky than a frappuccino or vivanno. I like that we are starting to focus on tea again. Remember back when the company was called Starbucks Coffee TEA & Spices?

SoyMMM:

Be that as it may, they usually go hand in hand. I find that if you can't get the basics down, then usually the other more important details aren't there either. It's the small details that usually demonstrate that a barista cares...and how can you say you care as a barista and then not want to focus on the "trivial"? Sort of contradictory. It takes only a little effort to get the basics down, especially for those who've been baristas and had the "aha" moments.

Again, trying to spur towards being truly legendary in all aspects of being a barista: bevg production, quality, partner/customer engagement, community involvement....you get the point.

FLA SM:

Training hours haven't been cut. Proper training is incumbent upon those doing the training. Stressful as the current situation in the stores are, the fact remains that if you care about what you do you make it happen.

Secondly, to allocate hours of training for every new beverage platform is sort of unnecessary anyway--considering that most beverages are built upon the "basics" a barista learns or should learn (again, the basics--the details are important).

Also, to address garbage in/garbage out: as a store manager you set the tone of your store and team environment. You're called to deal with "ambiguity" and have "leadership courage." If that's the tone you set, that's the tone you get.

Times are indeed tough, but we are all there with you.

anon

Mrs., anyone who could possibly remember that far back has been fired already for making too much money.

embean

these are way too lame. weren't black and red tea lattes discontinued because they suck? and a whole platform based on tea beverages?
I am all for the tea mistos, but ehh.

Damien

LOL Star Skills!

Gord

Secondly, I am consistently saddened by the lack of quality that partners have in the details of being a barista--exemplified in this thread by improper "calling of a beverage". The proper way to call artgurl's beverage as it will soon be called out is: "venti, raspberry, soy, extra foam(y), green tea latte."

Well, I'm not a barista... what do you expect. :)

I saddened that you are saddened that baristas don't know the fine details when you are basing that fact by quoting an incorrectly called drink by someone who isn't a barista. :)

FLA SM

"Training hours haven't been cut. Proper training is incumbent upon those doing the training."

Exactly my point. With labor slashed and the floor barely covered, how is anyone supposed to be able to train a new hire when they can barely keep up with the line of customers, let alone do all the other things they are supposed to do like, lobby slides, coffee presses, values walks, duty roster notebook, counting in/out of the safe, keeping up with action items, etc.

"Stressful as the current situation in the stores are, the fact remains that if you care about what you do you make it happen."

That's a rosy sentiment, but not a realistic one. If I really care about winning the lottery, it doesn't mean that it will happen. If I don't have the labor to properly run a store, then it's not going to get run properly. It's that simple.

"Secondly, to allocate hours of training for every new beverage platform is sort of unnecessary anyway--considering that most beverages are built upon the "basics" a barista learns or should learn (again, the basics--the details are important)."

As you say, a barista "should learn." If they had an LC who had the time to train someone. As you say, "the details are important." That's why we have always had some kind of training for new beverage platforms. Until now.

"Also, to address garbage in/garbage out: as a store manager you set the tone of your store and team environment. You're called to deal with "ambiguity" and have "leadership courage." If that's the tone you set, that's the tone you get."

I don't have the option of setting the tone in my store. It's already been set for me. When the suits tell me to slash hours (hours that are necessary to properly run a business), they have set the tone that says "We don't care about our partners. You should work harder for the same pay and we'll be right behind you to bitch if things aren't even better than before. Just ignore all that stuff we used to promote like respect & dignity, being the premier purveyor of the world's finest coffee, total pay, etc. We didn't really mean it." How am I supposed to set a positive tone when my baristas are all getting less than 12 hours each? How am I supposed to set a positive tone when my shifts are told to open up their availability to get full-time hours (labor optimization) only to have their hours slashed at the holidays?

To me "leadership courage" does not mean I work an extra 20-30 hours off the clock each week just so I can get necessary things done. It does not mean having my customers bitch at me because I can't staff the store properly and keep it clean.
Believe me, I am not dealing with any "ambiguity." It's all very clear. Rash decisions are being made by people who sit in their ivory towers that have never worked a day in their life in a Starbucks. They have no idea what it takes to keep a store running properly. But, eventually, they will learn of their folly. It won't be much longer before customers stay away in droves due to long waits, dirty stores, unhappy partners & crap like PPR instead of good coffee. It won't be much longer before most good partners (the ones still remaining) leave the company in disgust. It's all a downward spiral: less coverage leads to fewer customers and high partner turnover which leads to lower sales which leads to less coverage etc.

Well, although you aren't a barista you've called attention to a fact that is true nonetheless. In addition, I didn't make the assumption that you were a barista, Gord. It would be presumptuous to do so on a public forum. I simply saw this as an opportunity to voice an opinion, of which your post reminded me despite the fact that you aren't a barista. I work in a market where Starbucks are plentiful, so I observe this on a weekly basis.

Also, as artgurl demonstrates, customers have a desire to learn how to properly order their beverage. How can they learn if the baristas don't even do it themselves? For the record: contrary to popular consumer belief, baristas don't expect customers to know how to order their bevg. in "starbuckese." We are happy to "translate" anyway you wish to order your beverage.

flasm,
i understand your frustration...i was there once. i saw all this bull happening back in 04 thats when the ship started taking on water. i jumped. hang in there your only human. come the jan slow down it will seem like you are overstaffed. been there done that.

FLA SM

"come the jan slow down it will seem like you are overstaffed."

I wish. Here's how it works in a low-volume store such as my own. I'm required to have two people open and I'm required to have two people close. I'm also required to have at least one more person in the middle of the day to allow for the opening shift to go to the bank and to allow partners to take half-hour breaks. Guess what? If I schedule just that bare minimum number of hours, I will go over my VTI under the new program. What am I supposed to do? Leave one partner by themself in the store? Or go over on labor and risk getting fired? Damned if you do, damned if you don't.
Maybe I should go out and drum up some more business. Too bad my store will only get about 4 hours a week of non-coverage. After tips, processing payroll, making a schedule, and (God forbid!) any extra cleaning, I have no time for QASA preparation, interviews, reviews, PDPs, one-on-ones, SPAVs, placing orders, doing cycle/coffee counts, conference calls, training, Siren's Eye, etc.
I'm not bitching for the sake of bitching. I'm literally being asked to do the impossible, yet I'm being held accountable for it. It's crazy!

FLA SM:

It appears you're simply making excuses and pushing it off on the "suits." I never said they have no fault in the current situation; but what are you doing to solve the problems in your store within the constraints you're given? YOU DO set the tone in your store. Do you think you're the only SM dealing with these constraints? Yet, I see SM's positively impacting their team.

I don't presume to know how you operate your business or run your store; but the "lashing out" in your post doesn't speak to the fact that you are dealing with the situation well. If you're just venting, this probably isn't the place for someone in your position to do it--a place where baristas are able to see how frustrated you appear. Instead of venting down, why don't you vent up? Fellow SM's, perhaps a DM or someone totally outside of the company.

Of course the "suits" realize what they are doing--they may not know what it takes to run a store, but don't think for a moment that they aren't getting LOTS of feedback from those in the store (and perhaps even reading these posts.) In the end we still have to survive as a company, and they have to make decisions that are tough in order for that to happen.

For further address of training, if the LC's are utilized properly and the training plans followed training can and does happen. Again, the training tools are there and it is incumbent on those training. Although it would be nice for new partners to be "in training" until they have the "aha" moment it's not realistic. Finally, if you're hiring the right people it really does make training a lot easier.

"Stressful as the current situation in the stores are, the fact remains that if you care about what you do you make it happen."

That's a rosy sentiment, but not a realistic one. If I really care about winning the lottery, it doesn't mean that it will happen. If I don't have the labor to properly run a store, then it's not going to get run properly. It's that simple.

You're comparing sentiment with action--you can't compare them. You have no control over winning the lottery, but you do control the quality of your work and what you do.

Finally, if your not happy where you're at then maybe you should look somewhere else.

vampbarista

No more melon?! What? That makes me mad. And I know some of the customers are going to mad.

It's a stupid idea to take away melon syrup. Idiots.

FLA SM

"what are you doing to solve the problems in your store within the constraints you're given?"

I don't think you truly get the situation. There's nothing I can do to solve the problems. The tools have been taken away from me. Your position is analogous to telling a carpenter to build a house without nails. The carpenter can't control the quality of their work when they aren't given the ability to do it properly. When that carpenter says "You won't give me any nails" it's not simply making excuses. It's stating the problem clearly and truthfully. As the carpenter in this analogy, I'm forced to build the house with glue and spit, hoping the house will hold together long enough for the contractor to realize that I really do need nails.

"If you're just venting, this probably isn't the place for someone in your position to do it--a place where baristas are able to see how frustrated you appear."

The baristas don't need to see how frustrated I am. They see it in the number of hours they are getting. It's all over this site. Read any thread.

"Instead of venting down, why don't you vent up? Fellow SM's, perhaps a DM or someone totally outside of the company."

I wish that were a safe thing to do. Again, if you read other threads on this site, you will hear many a tale of partners who were terminated for not "being a team player." I could vent to people not affiliated with Starbucks, but they don't really care. This site provides the safety of anonymity and the comfort of fellow partners (and customers) who are also distressed by the turn that the company has taken.

Like you. We may have different points of view, but, by virtue of the fact that we both read and post here, it appears that we both want the best for our stores and our partners. (Assuming you work for Starbucks.) My hope is that "the suits" will also look into this site and see numerous partners who only want the best for their stores and the company, but feel that the latest round of labor decisions are disastrously rash and ill-considered. Time, sales dollars, and Customer Voice will prove whether or not I'm right.

FLA SM

Getting back to the topic of this thread, I'm going to have a lot of customers disappointed over the elimination of Melon. Passion Tea (or Passion Tea Lemonade) with Melon is hugely popular.

momofboyz

FLA SM - Just wanted to say I hear ya and I feel your pain! I'm "just" a barista but can totally understand where you're coming from. I find it interesting that the person challenging and criticizing your leadership is posting as anonymous. Who are you, "a suit"?

Anony

_ _, stop it. You really have your head in the clouds. Do you have a Starbucks office job?

FLA SM

momofboyz: no one is "just" a barista. Baristas are the backbone of this company and I hope you are getting the recognition you deserve. Thanks for your support.

anon

FLA SM,

I agree with you 100%, the mandated understaffing is indeed criminal, but I'm wondering if Howard sent out a voicemail that said "we had to make these cuts or else we'd be Pepsi right now," would that motivate you to soldier on or would you blame the company for not cost-cutting in other areas? If its down to your labor or a buy out, how do you react?

foxy

I ordered way extra Melon syrup last week, and I would suggest everybody else do the same. We now have enough to last us until it expires, and then some (just in case someone wants to buy a bottle or two).

Jr

so that explains why we HAVENT had any MELON for like TWO WEEKS.

im kinda sad since im matcha-addicted and my GRTL will now taste the same anymore.

Green Tea Lemonade also taste great with melon....

I am posting as anonymous because I choose to remain anonymous.

I am in fact a partner; no, not a suit either. I am a barista who wears the title and burden of SM; but I love what I do. I have great hope for the company and as I said in my first post am simply trying to spur the ill-contented and those who care alike to make the situation better as much as we can. Circumstances change, business changes, customers change, partners change; as my mentor once told me, "I can only control what goes on in the 4 walls of my store." That's simply what I am asking everyone to examine for themselves.

FLA SM, I do understand the situation. I have been with the company for some 4 years now and have worked from barista to SM.

I have managed several different stores; one of which sounds like a store you are managing right now. Low volume with an allotment of 2 partners to open and 2 to close, with interspersed periods of maybe 3. This was before the recent VTI requirements. You adapt, partners learn to multi-task, and you create systems and find ways to get done what needs to be done. To use your analogy, instead of talking about the "nails" you don't have, you use what you have to build soundly. If you think creatively you find the building materials.


Most other similar businesses as ours aren't given any non-coverage time to do the admin stuff. If you talk to any SM who's been around for a while, this is not the first time that we've had to manage with minimal non-coverage--at one point it was even 0% non-coverage.

Believe me, I understand your frustration. I just happen to think there is a better way of dealing with it than to see the dismal outlook that you do. If you care for your store and partners as you say you do, give them some encouragement through your actions and attitude.

No, my head is not in the clouds; it's right in my store--in the trenches with my partners, right in my customers' faces.

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

I suppose the situation is like when Pharaoh told the Hebrews to make bricks without straw. I'm sure the baby Moses is somewhere, that is unless Pharaoh hasn't already terminated him/her.

one of the multiple mes

Wow, all the melon lovers out there must have been united here. In my store we usually discard a more than half full bottle of melon after one month. So there can't be too many melon lovers loosing their beloved melon. At least not in my store.

About the drink calling issue. Yes, it irks me as well if a partner is not able to call a drink properly after beeing with starbucks for more than lets say three month. I used to correct them every single time. I just recalled the drinks asking: Is THIS what you wanted to call it?
But my SM just told me I'm not making my fellow partner feel comfortable when I correct them on the fly and tell them how it is right. I thought they would learn it this way eventually. But I was officially told to take it easy, let them do what they can and to not care about whatever they do wrong. So I guess I'm not supposed to tell anyone anymore if they are doing a CM with caramel syrup that this is wrong.

Oh, and about the drink training. The training trees where never followed in my store anyway. But with the new drinks I guess some real training would have been useful, since they are not just another flavored Latte with whip and a funny topping. But then, I was just told to relax.

Taking a deeeeep breath now.

Lattegal

Here's an idea...

Instead of sending out thousands of coupons for a "2pm Tea Time", how about sending out invites for coffee tastings at your local Starbucks store and for those who attend they can purchase a bag of coffee for 30% off? I guess I don't see how these "Tea" drinks are getting back to our Coffee?

Also, instead of selling little stuffed reindeers, and red little birds, (is anyone selling these ridiculous items?) how about bring the bears (that thousands of people were collecting) back?

BOSTON STARBUCKS REBEL

We need to keep the Vivannos for all the people who want to keep their New Years resolutions.

verticalphil

london fog! holy hell this is a laugh riot. whats next the cleveland steamer?

we already have a cleveland steamer. it's mocha, steamed milk, and whipped cream. ;) or perhaps we can add a pack of the chunky almond butter to make it more realistic. ;) x 2

SANANISISTA

It's just sad that instead of Starbucks "Getting Back to Basics" to restore our brand image and reputation, the "Suits" are once again following the formula that created part of the monster. Stop expanding. Vivannos are for Jamba Juice. Why not offer a coffee tastings to our communities, as mentioned by Lattegal, allowing us to connect with them? We need to stick to the basics (I guess we'll see with the new tea lattes-sounds promising!) and be empowered to interact with our customers(the labor cuts are just ridiculous and counter-productive. Thank you FLA SM, for telling it how it is.) After all, isn't that what made the "Starbucks Experience" legendary?

Melody

Amen Lattegal! New tea drinks are better than new warmed sausage instant McBreakfast at Starbucks but still ... It's like as if coffee is becoming an after thought. What will be left on the shelves after the 20% sale is over? Seriously, it's weird, it's like we'll have to play the game "find the coffee" at Starbucks Coffee after the 1st of the year.


Oh please, NO ONE is going to miss melon.

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