Review: On-Campus Starbucks fails to meet off-campus standards

3 years ago 1

Starbucks is a staple of the college student diet.

Brynn Castro | The Houstonian
Brynn Castro | The Houstonian

Often times, students literally run on espresso, coffee or caffeine of any kind. This makes Starbucks vital to the campus environment.

However, when things go wrong at such a popular and well-known operation, the mistakes are highly noticeable.

The morning rush of coffee guzzlers at Sam Houston State University’s more central Starbucks located at the Newton Gresham Library is usually met with a friendly cashier and quick service. However, the quickness of service is often a downfall.

On multiple occasions, mistakes in order taking or preparation have been observed and can be attributed to an honest mistake caused by the sheer amount of people visiting the coffee shop. The problem is not the simple mistake, but how said mistake is handled by the baristas.

A hazelnut latte was once incorrectly labeled as a vanilla latte, and as the barista called out the incorrect order five or six times, the customer waiting for the hazelnut latte is left waiting extensively for their drink. The barista, having noticed the patron becoming impatient asked what their order was.

The student repeats their order, and the barista then glances as the unclaimed vanilla latte, cocks an eyebrow and inquisitively asked, “are you sure?” The student confirms the order, and the barista turns away, rolls her eyes and calls for a hazelnut latte to be made.

Notably absent from this experience: Starbucks’ “Barista Promise.”

The coffee chain claims every customer should love their beverage or let the barista know because they will always make it right. Surely a sarcastic eye-roll and rude inquiry into the student’s order is not part of the promise Starbucks has made to its customers.

Another variant on-campus Starbucks accrue from the locations off campus is the handling of out-of-stock supplies.

It is customary for brewed coffees at Starbucks to be “double cupped,” meaning the drink is served in one cup stacked inside of another. Off-campus locations do this, but SHSU’s does not.

In fact, the on-campus Starbucks shops charge for the second cup to be added, while ones off campus are complimentary. That is a whole 25 cents out of a penny-pinching college student’s pocket.

Reports show that Starbucks coffee is served anywhere from 160-185 degrees. This leads most Starbucks to “double cup” their brewed coffees since the drink is too hot for one to hold in one cup.

Once, the library location was out of the ever-popular heat protecting sleeves. A customer asked for a second cup because the drink was too hot to hold but was refused.

This presents a safety problem. Though the chances are rare for the customer to burn their hand on the beverage, and the cup being clearly labeled – for legal purposes – that the drink is “extremely hot,” it is not standard Starbucks protocol.

Yet another time the library’s Starbucks failed to hold to the chain’s standards is when ordering water.

At most Starbucks locations, one has no trouble ordering iced water along with their favorite latte, but that is not the case on campus.

When asking for a water at the library’s Starbucks, the order is rejected. When asked why one cannot order a water, employees are quick to answer with “we don’t do that here.”

Why is this Starbuck’s different than the rest? Chain restaurants of any kind are meant to have standard operations that do not vary location to location.

One can hope the on-campus Starbucks can find a way to meet their off-campus counterpart’s manner of operation. When spending $5 a latte, the patron deserves it.