Starbucks toronto

7 things Starbucks employees in Toronto wish you knew

Being a barista in Toronto isn't as simple as every quirky rom-com starring an artsy brunette will have you believe. Having to constantly deal with people who have yet to drink their morning coffees means just about every shift is guaranteed to have its share of stressful moments.

Luckily, local Starbucks employees — who chose to remain anonymous — gave blogTO the inside scoop on what really happens behind the scenes, as well as a few tips for how you can make the lives of these front-line workers easier.

1. The 'Secret Menu' doesn’t exist

Despite what some influencers will have you believe, there's no secret menu that all Starbucks employees are hiding from the public. Don't expect every barista in the city to have memorized what sugary concoction some D-list social media star has come up with.

You'll have more luck and save a lot of time by reading the recipe off your phone over simply saying you want to try the "double-upside-down-rosé-spritzer-accino."

2. No one thinks you're edgy for saying large instead of venti

Ordering a large coffee is obviously fine. Ordering a large coffee with an attitude that suggests you're above conforming to Starbucks' naming conventions is exhausting.

Employees don't name the drinks so it can get annoying when yet another person comes in and makes a big deal about how they refuse to say a single word in Italian.

"If you ask for a medium we know what you want," said an anonymous employee. "You don't have to make a big deal out of it."

3. Say the drink size and whether you want it hot or iced first

You may have noticed that Starbucks employees will write your drink order down on the cup itself. That's not possible to do until they know exactly what type of cup to grab.

If you want to avoid having to repeat your order, be sure to let the cashier know what cup they need to be writing on before you start listing off modifications to your drink.

4. Don't be offended if staff don't have your order memorized

In a city as big as Toronto, most Starbucks employees are going to serve hundreds of customers every single day. Don't expect each of them to be a coffee-fueled Rain Man who will know the exact order of every regular the moment they see your face.

"Even if I've seen you every day for months, I can only keep, say, 100 customer names in my head," said another employee. "If you're one of the lucky ones, great! If not, be chill and order your coffee."

5. Someone is going to make your drink wrong eventually and the world won't end

Starbucks employees are humans and humans make mistakes. Eventually, someone is going to make your drink wrong and we just ask that you remember there's a real person on the other side of the counter before you begin to berate them.

An incorrect order isn't a personal attack, and it definitely isn't because the employee is stupid. No one is perfect and when you make thousands of drinks every single day, eventually one of them is going to be wrong.

6. Misspelling your name isn't part of some complicated marketing scheme

Despite what conspiracy theorists will have you believe, Starbucks employees don't intentionally misspell names so that customers will post photos of their drinks on social media. The vast majority of employees are genuinely trying to spell your name correctly.

The truth is, for many employees this is their first job or even their first English-language job after moving to Canada. The person writing your name down may not yet have a complete grasp of the English language.

"If somebody asks you how to spell your name, just tell them. It's weird that Scott has two T's," one employee said.

7. You probably shouldn't be going to Starbucks right now

It's a shame this even has to be said, but as much as you might need to fuel your coffee fixation, employees stressed that Starbucks is not essential to your survival during a pandemic. Even with lockdown restrictions in place, some workers say their stores are busier than ever.

The reason washrooms are closed and seating is removed is because people aren't even supposed to be in the store. 

Customers, employees, and their families are getting sick because too many people are refusing to stay at home. If for some reason you absolutely must enter a Starbucks, order ahead on the app so you can be in and out as quickly and as safely as possible.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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