Many Starbucks employees, or “coffee-making robots” as The Guardian reports that some of them not-so-cheerfully refer to themselves, have concerns about their working conditions. Starbucks management tried to assuage those concerns, including with pay raises, per Nation’s Restaurant News. However, none of these changes have remedied some of the baristas’ concerns, including the hard physical labor involved in making and dispensing the often-elaborate coffee drinks that customers love and come back for repeatedly. As the Wall Street Journal explains, even making a simple Caramel Macchiato requires no less than seven steps, several of which require baristas to navigate across the store multiple times. And let’s not forget, “…every second matters,” as Natarajan Venkatakrishnan, who is in charge of the Tryer Center, points out — especially at the drive-through window, which represents about half of Starbucks sales.
“There’s usually so much walking and bending that after eight hours, it hurts,” one barista pointed out to the Wall Street Journal. And that is where the Tryer Center comes in at this junction. “If employees spend less time running around cafes fetching foam and carrying 20-pound buckets of ice, maybe they will be happy working there,” executives noted. Schultz is on board with that sentiment and has expressed hope that dramatic changes that simplify store processes for the sake of both baristas and customers will be in effect within three years.