What A Starbucks Barista Thinks Is To Blame For A 'Cafe Pile Up'

You walk into your local Starbucks to grab a cup of coffee on your break. Even as you pull in, you notice that there are a lot of cars, much more than there usually are. There's a line around the drive-thru, and almost every parking spot is full. Inside, it's even more chaotic. People crowding around tables, standing in line, shouting that they were here first before someone else or that they've been waiting for nearly an hour. Bags of food and coffee cups are everywhere on the counter, waiting to be picked up. What's going on? Is there some kind of new promotion that everyone's trying to be the first to get? Are they giving away free lattes to the first 20 customers?

This is what Starbucks employees refer to as a "café pile-up," an enormous crowd of customers and patrons all jammed together like one big car wreck, waiting for orders to be filled or placed. With the coffee company announcing record sales but higher labor costs (via Food Manufacturing), could it be from workers getting laid off and thus having fewer people to help fill orders? According to some Redditors, the reason for the long wait time is because of customers who don't know what they want or simply aren't ready, holding up the line for everyone else.

However, according to some employees, the reason for these absurd "pile-ups" isn't because of layoffs or inconvenient customers. Instead, it may have something to do with online orders.

There's a confusing wait time for online orders

On the subreddit r/Starbucks, a barista with the username of Spirited_Baker_1545 posted an image of their Starbucks location. The counter was littered with orders and customers waiting around. How could there be so much food but no one there to get it? According to Spirited_Baker_1545, this was because there was a problem with the way the store accepted online orders.

"Starbucks needs to fix the software of [its' app to help prevent this from happening," the barista explained, elaborating that customers come in and find themselves waiting for up to 45 minutes for their order as mobile orders continue to pile on. This influx of online orders swamps the staff and leads to orders placed in the store being lost in the chaos. "I'm sure this is happening at other stores and has become a pain to deal with especially when customers start to get impatient when baristas have no control over the wait time," the Redditor continued.

Online orders appear to have been a problem for Starbucks employees for some time. Per Business Insider, former employees explain that not only does the company allow too many orders to be placed on the app, but certain drinks inspired by influencers and social media mean that they take longer to make, leading to a pile-up of orders and impatient customers. It would seem that baristas wish customers would cut back on mobile orders, along with certain other things employees wish you knew.