How Starbucks employees really feel about the secret menu

Apparently, Starbucks has a secret menu, but technically, it doesn't. While Glamour insists that the secret menu is real and provides a selection of 41 drinks from it, it is purely the creation of the chain's customers. As a spokesperson said in an email to The Motley Fool, "Starbucks does not have an official 'secret menu,' however our customers are always trying out new ways to customize their favorite drinks according to their personal taste preferences." After a few years, some of these customizations solidified in the community to something resembling a secret set of ingredients (see starbuckssecretmenu.net and hackthemenu.com).

For individual baristas, the potential for annoyance when people insist on ordering these possible customizations comes from the fact that some customers expect the barista to know what the hell they're talking about. As one Redditor vented: "Cust: '[The Pink Drink's] on the secret menu, I know you guys have it' / Me: 'Oh yeah, it's a secret to us too'." Unable to explain what they actually wanted, the customer ultimately went with a Venti Caramel Frappuccino.

It should be noted that the sketch was met with a mixture of amusement and disapproval between those annoyed by the demand and those who insist on customer service and that by that point, the Pink Drink was on the company's hub. This near ambivalence in the comments reflects a similar attitude that baristas show toward the secret menu in general.

Just customize the drink

The ambivalence that seems to define the consensus of Starbucks baristas is that they don't mind mixing an odd drink for you, but you should be able to tell them the recipe because, again, Starbucks does not have a secret menu. In blunter terms, a Starbucks employee told Katherine Barner of New York Magazine that "[the secret menu is] stuff that random-a** people made up online, and then people will come in and try to order stuff and expect us to know what it is, and we have no idea. It sounds good, but unless you can tell us what's in it, we can't make it for you. And people get kind of mad about that." 

And that's completely fair. A person working in a service position should not have to add mind-reading to their list of daily tasks. Additionally, making these drinks takes extra time, so also consider the fact that ordering a drink that requires you to teach them a recipe might vex even a saint. "Please, please, please have the recipe or else you aren't getting your drink," a Starbucks employee said to Food Network. To be fair to the many, many outlets for the various recipes of the Starbucks secret menu, however, at least some of them do include a sentence or two exhorting the reader to order by the recipe and not the name alone.