Life As A Starbucks Barista

What goes on behind the scenes at Starbucks coffee shops? Most of us have probably ignored the people working behind the counters as we wait for our Starbucks coffee.

Still, you may have wondered: What keeps a Starbucks coffee shop running? What’s happening behind the counter?

The baristas working in a Starbucks usually work various shifts throughout the day. The typical Starbucks day is commonly comprised of two or three shifts. Each shift may range from two to five workers, depending on the number of customers.


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In the back of the counter, the floor is divided into sections.

The sections of a typical Starbucks consist of:

1. Register — This would be the section that customers would be most familiar with. Also known as the Point of Sale, the register is where you place your orders for your favorite Starbucks drink. Pastries and some beverages, such as brewed coffee and hot tea, are also served here.

2. Beverage station — This is where your favorite Starbucks drink is prepared. A Starbucks beverage station usually contains two parts:

a) Espresso bar — This is where the hot beverages are made. A large portion of the drinks available at Starbucks go through here, even though some don’t actually need shots of espresso.

b) Cold beverages — This is where iced teas, Frappucino Blended coffee beverages, iced coffees, iced chais, and Frappucino Blended Creme beverages are prepared. A typical Starbucks cold beverage station is usually tended by the barista working on the espresso bar, though there are times when high volumes of orders for cold drinks demands a separate person for cold beverages. Otherwise, a barista usually alternates between the espresso bar and the cold drinks bar.

c) The pastry case and slide position — In a Starbucks coffee, the slider may help the register barista with pastries, brewed coffee and hot tea. The slider usually works near the pastry case, where they can more easily assist the barista at the register.


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Aside from the stations within Starbucks coffee, baristas may also be assigned shifts as:

Floaters — as the name suggests, floaters “float” from one station to another, doing miscellaneous duties such as cleaning spills and all-around jobs such as restocking supplies.

Cafe — in Starbucks coffee, this task refers to cleaning and sanitizing the dining area, including tables, the condiment bar, and the floor.

Inventory — depending upon the need of a store, a barista may be asked to take regular (usually weekly) inventory in a Starbucks.

Shift Supervisor — a Starbucks shift supervisor manages the store whenever the assistant manager is not available. Most shift supervisors often take on the role of floaters, assisting with every station when necessary.

There are definite perks to working at a Starbucks. The Starbucks Coffee Company is very generous to its employees. Part-time employees are offered stock options, insurance benefits for themselves and their spouses, and flexible hours. The most popular benefits, however, are the unlimited free drinks throughout the baristas’ shifts, and a free pound of coffee every week.

These are just some of the benefits that Starbucks baristas receive, and there are many intangible benefits from working with friendly people and forming bonds with their regular customers.

So there is just a taste of what goes on in a Starbucks coffee shop. If you want to learn more, information is readily available online.

Thank you for taking the time to read our article.

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