Our Continued Commitment to Partner-Centric Scheduling & Staffing

Working together to achieve our shared goals

Our partners and the connection they have with our customers are what drive Starbucks success. Over the last two years, and as part of our Triple Shot with Two Pumps strategy, we have continued to make significant efforts to refocus our stores on what is most important to driving the business — human connection. We do this by improving the store environment and retooling our approach to both partner staffing and scheduling.

  • Staffing our stores with greater precision:
    • We continue to make significant progress in the precision of our staffing model – ensuring our stores have the right number of hours each week for partners to provide a great partner and customer experience every day, at every time of day.  
    • Hours per store are not simply earned based on last year’s sales. A sophisticated set of data that includes historical trends, current trends, planned promotions and types of available product offerings help project the number of hours needed for each store for scheduling partners.  
    • We can now project the number of transactions we can expect in 15-minute increments, with local leaders equipped to allocate hours against individual store needs and partner preferences.
  • Scheduling to partners’ preferences for stability and consistency:
    • Our partner-centric model for scheduling is designed around partners’ preferences in hours and shifts, while meeting our store business needs.  
    • Schedules are set three weeks in advance and store leaders are equipped to allocate hours to partners based on both store needs and partner-identified preferences, as well as adjustments for unplanned events.
    • Our progress in these efforts has led to more hours per partner and increased partner retention and sentiment, with greater stability and consistency in schedules.

We have a clear goal: For partners to receive the hours they want with stability and consistency in their schedules – and the resources store leaders need to staff our stores to meet customer demand while delivering an elevated and efficient Starbucks Experience.

We regularly seek feedback from our store partners and incorporate learnings to improve their experience. We are also investing in and engaged with our retail leaders, ensuring they have the capabilities needed to navigate through change and growing their acumen with staffing and scheduling excellence.

Here is more information to answer commonly asked questions about our approach to staffing and scheduling in our stores, as well as the progress we have made and the work that is underway.

YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED:

How does Starbucks anticipate demand for staffing purposes?

Every store has a unique set of staffing and partner needs. Of primary importance to partners are consistent and reliable schedules with shifts adequately staffed to meet job demands on any given day.

To help determine the number of hours a store needs each week, Starbucks has a highly sophisticated staffing model – unmatched given its precision to support nearly 10,000 Starbucks locations across the U.S. We incorporate a robust data set to forecast store-specific staffing needs throughout each day.

While the staffing model takes into consideration historical sales and volume, it also considers the types of beverages and food items being ordered and the time needed to prepare them, tasks that need to be completed throughout the day, current trends and planned promotions. These factors are used to project the number of transactions we can expect in 15-minute increments, including variables for both products ordered and customer traffic patterns, and then determine the number of hours needed for each store.

This approach ensures we have the right number of partners working throughout each day to deliver the experience and the products our customers want. Store leaders then allocate hours to partners based on both store needs and partner-identified preferences.

Does Starbucks schedule more staff to meet unmet demand at peak times in stores?

Our path to success means creating capacity for our partners, including by adding hours when the business needs them. While adding staff is one element of how Starbucks works to meet customer demand in stores, we are also working to equip partners with the right tools, processes and technology to best do their jobs and continue to deliver our customers with the Starbucks Experience they expect.

We are accelerating the rollout of operational improvements to do just that. We are working to optimize store-related processes, investing in our supply chain to ensure products are available in-store for our customers and further digitizing our stores to fine-tune how we operate while delivering an improved customer experience.

How does Starbucks support partners when new customer offers are added, contributing to busy periods?

We know small changes can have a big impact on stores’ staffing approach. Starbucks adds incremental hours to the forecast for promotional offers when possible. If a decision is made within three weeks of the promotion (after schedules are set), we provide retail leaders with guidance on how many hours are needed and where to place them across the day to best support the promotion. 

How are partner schedules created?

Our scheduling goal is to balance partner expectations with store needs, which means taking a store-by-store approach to creating schedules. This is rooted in both partner feedback and analytical tools. We believe that grounding this process in data helps us better achieve that goal.

Recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all solution, we’re innovating and working directly with partners to ideate and test solutions that make it easier to staff our stores and build great schedules. This includes investing in and empowering our retail leaders to set them up for success. One of the ways we do this is by supporting them with a centralized staffing team and core reporting tools to ensure they check and can adjust forecasts in real time to reflect changes in the business – including fluctuations in demand.

Long term, we are exploring new and different ways to reduce complexity and save our partners’ time, considering features like Deep-Brew-enabled inventory and evolving our scheduling platform. We also seek regular feedback from our Scheduling Excellence Advisory, made up of store managers from around the country, who provide critical input on our scheduling best practices.

What role do partners play in scheduling?

Partners have direct input into the scheduling process for each period by providing their availability and preferred schedules, and we’re continuing to find ways to prioritize their preferences. We have now gathered preferences for 100% of our partners across the U.S. and are providing the tools and opportunity for them to update their preferences as their lives change.

We are going to keep learning, listening and bringing partners along, because at our best we know we can significantly improve the partner experience.

What has been the result of these changes to staffing and scheduling?

We’re proud of our progress to date. Both the feedback and data from our partners show that the improvements we are making to the scheduling process are having a positive impact and we are on the right track. Key metrics we measure against are average partner hours, turnover, stability, consistency and sentiment.

  • We are able to gather 100% of U.S. partner preferences, and thus provide partners with more stability and consistency shifts.
  • Turnover of hourly partners has decreased year-over-year and is now well below pre-COVID levels.
  • Average partner hours increased, leading to a meaningful increase in partner earnings opportunities as well as an increase in partner sentiment related to scheduling preferences.

How else is Starbucks working to make it easier for partners to do their jobs and better connect with customers?

While staffing and scheduling remain critical focus areas, it is important to note this work is part of a larger system of service, craftmanship and production improvements in our stores. Starbucks larger aim is a better integrated operating system to make it easier for partners to do their jobs and better connect with customers.  

Another example of how we are improving the overall Starbucks experience is through the rollout of Siren Craft System broadly in the U.S., beginning in July. A partner-driven evolution of how we operate our stores, Siren Craft System is an end-to-end system, from manufacturing to customer hand-off, designed to reduce customer wait times and improve the partner experience.  

  • This new operating system provides new and updated positions, routines, work methods and digital tools capable of flexing for dynamic business needs.  
  • This means that partners will know what to do and feel confident doing it, shift after shift.
  • In stores where we've used the Siren Craft System to optimize operations, we have already seen an increase in peak throughput – with a significant reduction in customer wait time.   
  • The Siren Craft System also bolsters the highly incremental returns we expect from our equipment-driven Siren System as it is deployed in stores.

Taken together, Starbucks approach to staffing and scheduling – along with these new processes and equipment systems – complement and amplify efforts to unlock capacity at peak and make it easier for our partners to deliver the Starbucks Experience our customers value.


Starbucks response to Bloomberg article

May 29, 2024

A recent Bloomberg story on staffing, scheduling and wait times at Starbucks lacks vital context and draws misleading conclusions based on a small sample of solicited conversations. 

Despite providing extensive information to Bloomberg, including multiple interviews, and detailed progress of our work to improve the partner and customer experience, the story includes sweeping generalizations made about our more than 16,000 U.S. stores and 200,000 U.S. store partners.

  • Bloomberg oversimplifies Starbucks staffing model. Order forecasts and product availability are just two elements of a sophisticated and complex algorithm that also factors in current trends, planned promotions and other inputs from local store leaders now better equipped for store-level decision making. More details on our staffing and scheduling model are included above.
  • The total number of partners employed by Starbucks doesn’t affect the number of partners in store for a given shift. In response to partner feedback, we have been working to increase the number of hours per partner to both increase earnings and meet partner preferences. We have worked hard over the past two years to help store partners receive the hours they want – with now greater visibility to partner preferences, and greater stability and consistency in their schedules.
  • Adding more partners is not the only solution to reduce customer wait times or produce a better Starbucks experience. Bloomberg’s story fails to highlight the immense progress and scale of the work to improve the partner and customer experience. It does not mention the conversations – including one with a store leader – about the significant process improvements we expect to see from the Siren Craft System, which is in pilot now and rolling out broadly this year. Nor does it sufficiently acknowledge our end-to-end store improvements across staffing, equipment, and process; improvements that directly incorporate the insights from green apron partners.

Our multi-year investments in staffing, scheduling and store improvements continue to elevate the partner and customer experience. Our recent surveys show that partners are more engaged and take home more earnings as their hours have increased. Average partner hours increased by 10 percent last quarter, and cash compensation for hourly partners has nearly doubled since FY 2020. Meanwhile, Starbucks industry-leading turnover among hourly partners has decreased by roughly 7 percent since FY22, as has the number of partner call-outs.

Since our founding, Starbucks has been committed to a process of continuous improvement and transformation. We know we have more work to do and, while we are not perfect, we know that in order to to exceed customer expectations, we must first exceed all partner expectations. We will continue to listen to our partners’ evolving needs and best support them in their job, on their team and in their life.