« Is this the 'super big announcement' that's coming from Starbucks? (UPDATE: Yes it is) | Main | Starbucks pulls posters from stores in France after some call them racist »

October 15, 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


I think Sally is just making that up.


Get ready to starback cough cough...


I'd heard that playbook was essentially one LEAN program for the entire basis of store operations. It is composed of the the plans for 3 day parts, with the tasks separated here, and with repeatable routines for each and every task. There's going to be a big revamp of ALS so that it will practically handcraft a schedule and duty roster fit for your store specifically based on labor and availability. It's, from what I hear, a sneaky way for corporate to hire less competent (read: cheaper) managers by basically removing any responsibilities for their stores and serving as mere communication speakers for the DM. There was some big uproar at a manager's meeting or conference call or something that I'd overheard.

NY Roast

drama drama drama. It is coming. Not until late 2012 though. But it is NOT something to take responsibility away from SMs. It is a tool to help us do our jobs even better. I am a SM. This is how I know this information. But there are SMs that have pride issues and are not open to help from a tool like this, or help from anything really. So out of their own frustration, they slander something that has the potential to make life easier for them.


While I wouldn't rule out the possibility of Starbucks exploring juicing as a possibility, the article above mentioned Jamba Juice took a hit on the news. Howie is a large stakeholder in Jamba, so he would have to approach it very carefully as becoming a player in this space would have an impact on his other interests.

Most likely option would be Howard pulling products from an existing business interest (i.e. our protein powder (Kinetix), Sorbetto (Pinkberry yogurt), Cranium Games, Good Magazine, etc) and shoehorning it into the stores..

That Guy

I agree with NY Roast....

PlayBook isnt going to replace competent SMs its only going to make our lives easier so we have more time to focus on our business.


I was at a our local forum meetinga few months ago and thats when I first heard about this and it seems like its just a tool to help any store. I work at a drive thru and what I heard from our regional manager and the dms was that its only going to make things better and easier.


I work at a drive thru and what I heard from our regional manager and the dms was that its only going to make things better and easier.

Isn't that always the party line when a new thing is introduced? Do you really thing Starbucks management is dumb enough to put in something that makes things worse?


I ran playbook for almost 4 months, there are some things that work very well and there are somethings that will drive you mad.... haha


they said optimal hours would make things better, and it screwed people out jobs, and hours. a couple of years later, they got rid of it. i don't trust starbucks corporate. not one bit.


i've worked for starbucks for 5yrs and some of that time spent as a shift supervisor, but stepped down because I became a full time student. Now i'm in a position where I can move up to asm, then sm once the new stores open in the area. However i'm trying to figure out is it worth it to do so. Are there many asm's out there with a 4yr college degree? I feel like this could be considered a good entry level job. thoughts?


Asm is no longer a permanent position, but a temporary stepping stone to store manager

Reading Onward

The rumors about Starbucks getting into the juice bar business are intriguing. Ever since he returned as CEO, Howard has always mentioned that he is excited about the health and wellness category. It's been a while since I left the company, but I never see anyone walk around LA with a Vivanno in their hands. Many people have Jamba Juice though.

Instead of installing juice bars in-stores, which would completely destroy the coffee smell that Howard is so passionate about, they should just buy Jamba Juice outright. The stock price of Jamba is only $1.50 right now with a market cap of $100 million, so Starbucks could acquire it relatively cheap.

Something tells me too that partners would HATE the idea of juicing fresh fruits and vegetables. Not to mention, what would that spell out for Naked Juice RTD?

SS in midwest

it is to soon to ask about holiday bonuses for baristas and SS? when we do know we get one one like last year? any ideas on a timeframe?


Interesting.. Howard has been talking about acquisitions lately.


there was a mention about bonuses today on the portal.. October 24th is the day it will be posted... i do not know for 100% who gets the bonus, it didn't say.. so i'm wondering....trying not to get my hopes up


@ hi, the bonus is for SMs and ASMs for Q4.


The holiday bonus was announced in November or December last year, so if we're going to get one that would be a logical time to hear about it.

Nearly everyone I know is getting a lower raise this year than at the height of the recession when the company gave a flat 2% to everyone. I never dreamed THAT would happen again, at least not with the stock at its all time high.

There better be SOMETHING coming to reward us for all the hard work we put in last year. Otherwise, the next time I get a partner message about how the company is "stronger than ever" or had its "best year ever" I'm going to wipe my ass with it and leave it on Kalen's desk.


You forgot 'year of the partner'...

sally sulawesi

Frankly...you guys can say what you will...I have been observing playbook for the last 5 months..It is a labor reducer difficult to manage-destroys CV scores...sure my dm says it will make things easier(party line) the closing crew was reduced to 2 partners-and at one point I counted 19 drinks on bar and 1 barista..it is the recreation of deployment based on peak non peak times good luck-calling plays and executing


As a barista finding out today that we have been using playbook for the past two months (derp, derp, derp), it works. Sure, there are those awkward times Sally is talking about (two baristas and one shift, five hours before closing at a drive through store), but, well, it isn't something absolutely horrible; it can delay closing tasks, but that's why you're scheduled for half past closing...


Here is what I think will happen. First, they will introduce the playbook which from what I understand is the culmination of the LEAN program. This simply means its a labor reducer. Second, all store employees will complain about how much harder their jobs are, and a few people will leave the company one way or another. At the same time their will be a brief period where CV and QASA scores drop like a brick. Third, DM's will systematically replace any SM's who are resistant to the change with new managers who are not burned out by the constant radical change that is Starbucks. These new managers will in turn eliminate any partners who are resistant to change which is a philosophy that has been ongoing for the last few years in an effort to change to a "performance culture". At this point the DM's will also be pounding the SM's about their lack of results. Finally, as they always do, SM's will find a way to produce the desired results by any means necessary. This will be helped by customers getting used to the service they have been receiving during this transition and partner attrition. This is just how Starbucks operates now. It seems to be a never-ending cycle.

Boston Starbucks Conformist

Well said Tiredofthis, 100% accurate.


Well, the "closing crew" is usually 2 partners, isn't it? And if there are 19 drinks on bar, is the partner using BR2 to consistently make drinks? At a 30 second pace? This is why in our area we are focusing so heavily on getting everyone to near 100% execution of the routines. We know that if partners are not proficient it will not work. And the stores where the partners are not proficient will stick out like a sore thumb because they will not be able to keep up/CV will drop/comps will dive.


1. What is the Starback?
2. What is an example of a "Play"?

Just wondering since there seem to be a lot of generalizations around these things...


I can answer this....Starback is the person who runs a 8 min cycle of brewing coffee, filling beans, changing the milk at the condiment stand, wiping down tables, and then doing 2 lobby tasks. Then you repeat repeat repeat repeat


Why not have a collaboration of partners who work in stores to develop these programs, rather than executives getting paid to sit behind a desk formulating better ways to get more product from fewer people. They act like the superfluous positions are in the stores, not in the ranks up from there.


at least 4 stores right now have been testing this for most of this year.

James Connolly

Crema, my store doesn't run BR2. We have some of the highest CV scores in the region and just aced our QASA. BR2 != success, no matter what your DM or RD says.

I have to say I'm enjoying the fact that now SMs are going to get a full dose of the Taylorism that cadence, BR2, and lean cash handling are. Oh sure, they got a dose of it with each of those, but now they get to share the pleasure of having some 'efficiency expert' in Seattle telling them The One True Way to do their job.


"Why not have a collaboration of partners who work in stores to develop these programs, rather than executives getting paid to sit behind a desk formulating better ways to get more product from fewer people. "

Because baristas would think up way to make their jobs easier, not how to make the company more profitable. And that would be a disaster.


James Connoly, why don't you run BR2? In my experience, it is faster, easier, and more logical than the process we used to use. What makes your non-standard system different from BR2, and in what ways is it better? Or asked another way, why didn't BR2 work for you?


@rpm, please, don't open that Pandora's Box...


Yeah, he'll just feed you the line about how it doesn't work for his store, when in reality they just either don't know how to do it correctly, or are unwilling to try. Either way, they're wrong, because it's company policy that we are all expected to follow. To not do so is as totally indefensible as saying, "we put three shots in our ventes because two isn't enough."

Just do your jobs and follow policy. And if you won't, at the very least admit you're in the wrong and just don't give a crap.

James Connolly

@Waltie: Maybe if the company actually paid its productive workers a living wage, they'd be more willing to brainstorm ideas that line Uncle Howie's pockets instead of figuring out ways to make their job easier.

@rpm: We basically do a hybrid of what came before and BR2, where we put syrup and sauces in cups before shots get pulled (especially if there's a line of drinks) and steam up enough milk for two drinks (situational, but if I get two hot chocolates using the same milk in one order, it's dumb to not batch steam in that case).

James Connolly

Last post was before I saw that gem of a Waltie post...

Piss off Waltie. Starbucks policy isn't holy writ. There's good things about BR2, like a clean pitcher for each drink, and there's parts that are garbage.

Spare me your three-ring-binder legalism. I'd have more sympathy for that view if I hadn't personally seen DMs and RDs flat-out ignore policy when it was convenient for them and for the company.


The fact that there are DMS who violate policy doesn't mean it's ok for everybody to violate policy, and only a fool would think it is.

Starbucks policy is absolutely not holy writ, but it is the policy of the company that pays our salary, so we are expected to follow it. "I'm not good enough to BR2," isn't a valid excuse to break policy. Get better or get a new job.

But, again, no matter how hard you try to spin it or justify it, your position is simply wrong and indefensible. Sorry if that makes you angry.

Just a Barista

I find this thread most interesting. On the one hand, we have the very self-righteous proclaiming the absolute necessity of following every company directive. On another thread, these very same people say they intend to ignore the expiration dates and "just say yes". Of course, this is indicative of the problems we all face. Can I spend time with a customer extolling the virtues of one bean or another?( or via?) Sure I can. Do I want to alienate the 10-12 people in line who want their coffee now and get to work? And risk that they figure it just takes too long and they go somewhere else? All of us pick and chose every day which policies make sense for that moment in time.Covering your failure to follow company policy with "Just say Yes" is just a little too convenient.


Just Say Yes is a company directive, and I've never met a DM or RM that would tell me to turn away a customer just because he or she has an expired coupon.


I think we can agree that following directions in regards to making the product we sell is MUCH more important than how to validate the coupons Starbucks uses to get potential customers in the door.

The way I see it, shit. They're in the door. They made the conscious decision to come to Starbucks and not one of our many competitors. So thanks, and here's whatever the coupon said theyd get (nearly regardless of the fine print).

If you treat them with a little care (I said a little, guys) and then make their beverage quickly and to the company standards, they'll come back. How hard is it? It isn't. I personally work in a store which was built in the late 1990's. Since BR2 is a recent innovation, it's difficult to adjust my store's layout to accommodate it. We're 88% BR2, and the rest of the time is adjusting to our store's needs. Some older partners are stubborn about switching, but it's not my fault that they won't listen to directive. They'll be taken care of.


Does anyone else feel that following the 8 min cadence during am rush is almost impossible to stick to? We've tried so hard to follow this routine, but find ourselves failing all the time. Having a partner dedicated to just this plus condiment bar/lobby sounds like a great idea, but I doubt we could pull this off given labor constraints.


My store does BR2 on occasions. If we have two lattes or two hot chocolates, we batch steam, especially during the rush. When it's slower, all of us partners have no problem doing BR2. Sometimes we even go above and beyond that. Having one partner set up the milks and clean the pitchers with just one of us doing the actual drink making. It works. But again, we pick and choose when to follow it.

This playbook seems like a bunch of crap. If we are missing just one person during the morning rush, everything falls to pieces. You then get one person doing two jobs. The person getting coffee's and teas also writing down cups for the bar. The pastry case partner also doing slides. It sucks. If you have one partner doing cadence and then doing a slide, something is going to go wrong. The coffee will run out or the condiment bar will run out of milk or napkins. It happens when we have all the partners on the floor, it will most definitely happen with less partners on the floor.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Search Site

Ads (2)