‘We should get more money’: Starbucks workers are fed up of ‘hacking’ Gen Z on menu with complicated drink orders they see on TikTok

Social media is filled with so-called “Starbucks tales” that include elaborate recipes intended to drive down prices or unlock secret menu options.

The hashtag #starbuckshack has nearly half a billion views on TikTok alone, and social media accounts dedicated to detailing drink formulas not already on the menu at Starbucks have thousands of followers.

However, many Starbucks workers are tired of customers walking into their stores and ordering crafted drinks they’ve seen on social media — which the employees themselves have never heard of.

Last month, the Starbucks workers union expressed frustration with those complex orders, suggesting in a tweet that the company wasn’t paying its employees enough to handle the increasingly time-consuming orders.

A Starbucks spokesperson was not available for comment when contacted luck.

“This leads me to stop squeaking”

Many Starbucks employees have spoken publicly of their aversion to having to fulfill orders tailored to customers’ whims rather than what they were trained to do.

A barista who works at Starbucks in Kentucky told American food publications eater This week, about a quarter of the drinks she makes had some form of personalization, adding that customers often didn’t think employees hadn’t actually heard of the so-called “secret menu” items before.

She said, “One customer ordered a latte mixed with cold strawberry foam in the name of a secret menu, and when I handed it out they told me ‘that’s not what it looks like’ and they showed it to me on their phones.”

“It leads me to stop squeaking, trying to figure out what they want, how to make it, to actually make it, and often, to remake it, whether because I got it wrong somewhere or because someone put it back—either because it doesn’t look like the pictures they have or because they don’t like the taste of it.” .

Another Starbucks barista, who worked in stores in New York and Ohio, told another eater About two-thirds of the drinks he should make are a “creative drink or TikTok drink.”

“I’m starting to get uncommon dread seeing young customers come into the store,” he said, noting that the number of specialty drinks being ordered had increased over the past year and had become increasingly complex.

At the end of September, a TikTok video of a tired Starbucks employee urging customers to stop trying to manipulate the system went viral.

“Just get your Pumpkin Spice Latte,” he said, explaining that the “hackers” on the menu are creating difficult working conditions for the coffee chain’s baristas.

Last week, another barista’s TikTok video garnered more than 4.2 million views, in which the woman revealed that she and her co-workers canceled an order because a customer bought a 5-cent bag on the Starbucks app and then placed their entire order in an “extra order” in an effort to drastically lower the price of their drink. .

However, some baristas are on board with the growing trend of menu penetration, sharing their content online to instruct coffee lovers on how to unlock more or cheaper menu options.

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com

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