The slower service comes after a major shift in the coffee shop's labor strategy that has basically cut short employees' hours and shifts, writes Venessa Wong from Buzzfeed. Since May, the site reports that the number of work hours assigned to all stores has fallen below what they have traditionally offered.
Starbucks uses a software system called Global Labor Scheduling (GLS) to determine how many work hours a store needs based on projected transactions for that day. However, Buzzfeed reports that the software has amended the number of hours it allocates, even when the number of projected transactions remains the same. For example, for an estimated 800 transactions GLS used to assign a store 70 hours of labor, but in recent months that same estimate tracks only 65 hours.
The coffee giant has denied any changes to its labor policies and claims it only asks managers to handle staffing "in accordance with what they each need," Jaime Riley, a spokesperson, told Buzzfeed.
Starbucks employees--or partners, in the company's lingo--have started an online petition arguing against the labor cuts. So far it has over 15,000 signatures.
News of the labor cuts comes after Starbucks announced disappointing third quarter results. Sales grew just 4 percent in the quarter, well below the 5.6 percent analysts had forecast. Overall, however, Starbucks reported a profit of $754 million, above last year's $626.7 million figure for the same period.
The company also issued a pay raise for its workers in early July. Instead of receiving their annual raise in January, like they usually do, partners will get it this October. Moreover, last week Starbucks also announced changes to its dress code. Baristas will now be able dye their hair and wear colorful clothes underneath the signature green aprons--moving away from the black, white or khaki only rule.
As a side note, Starbucks revealed an organizational change earlier this week. Cliff Burrows, who was the group president for the United States and Americas, will now assume the role of group president of a new division dubbed "Siren Retail." In the press release, the Seattle coffee chain said it would focus on an overall long-term strategy and innovation and that its plan "does not embrace the status quo."