Starbucks: Bring Back Calling

starbucks.jpgRemember the days when Starbucks’ Baristas used to “call” the drink order: “iced tall Americano” or “tall no-foam latte.”

That was part of what made Starbucks special.

Before Starbucks became the McDonald’s of coffee (funny, McDonald’s is going to start selling fancy coffee), I was one of those callers, cranking out the caffeine as a Starbucks barista in Las Vegas, when Starbucks only had a handful of stores there.

Customers loved it. They were mystified. It was entertaining.

Here are the basics in calling: always call size first, unless it’s iced. That way the person making the drinks could save time by grabbing the right cup. If it’s iced, the barista needs to know to grab a plastic cup. Then you would call by order of ingredient.

But now, they cheat and write on the cup.

That’s because Starbucks has had to train people quickly to keep up with store openings. When I trained, we learned for three weeks. We tasted coffees, smelled them, learned how to time espresso shots…It was an art.

Now that Howard Schultz is back as CEO, trying to fix the company’s tanking stock, that’s one thing I wish he’d change. Give the employees more training and make them call drinks. It would make Starbucks more special.

For now, Howard is cutting breakfast.