14 Pros and Cons of Working at Starbucks

There are several career opportunities at Starbucks, including retail, retail leadership, and corporate.

A lot of young adults start their working career at Starbucks due to the many benefits of working at this company, such as the starting salary for a barista, which is $15 per hour, flexible hours, career advancement opportunities, and an overall great working environment.

In addition, Starbucks is considered one of the best places to work in the US. 

Pros of Being a Starbucks Employee

While there is a long list of benefits associated with being a Starbucks employee, we will focus on the top seven advantages of working for this international coffee house.

1. Pay For Tuition

Starbucks is heavily invested in the future of its employees.

So much so, that the company will pay the full tuition for a first-time bachelor’s degree course that the employee decides to pursue.

It is known as the Starbucks College Achievement Plan.

The opportunity is only available to eligible US employees working more than 20 hours per week and is extended to both full-time and part-time employees.

Starbucks will cover 100% of the employee’s tuition for the full period of the bachelor’s degree course.

Candidates can choose from any one of the 100 diverse undergraduate degree programs offered by Arizona State University’s online program.

In addition, candidates receive full support from the company through a success coach that helps candidates manage work/study/personal life. 

2. Stock Options

Eligible Starbucks employees receive Bean Stock Restricted Stock Units (RSUs).

These stocks turn into shares after a two-year period.

Employees must be eligible to receive the Bean Stock.

To become eligible, employees must remain working for Starbucks for a one-year period with no breaks in that working period.

After the first year, the employee receives the first half of their Bean Stock and, after an additional two years, the employees are eligible to receive the second half of their Bean Stock.

Once the stock has been transferred to shares and is in the ownership of the employee, that employee may either sell the shares or keep them.

Candidates employed on or before the 1st of May each year are eligible for their grant in November of that same year. 

3. Future Roast 401(k)

This benefit is exclusive to employees who are over the age of 18 with a minimum of 90 days of employment/service.

This program helps employees to save for future goals by allowing payroll deductions that are paid into the Starbucks 401(k) savings plan. 

Employees may contribute 1% to 75% of their salary for every pay period up to the annual IRS dollar limit, which was $19,500 for the 2021 calendar year.

The company will match 100% of the first 5% of eligible pay of the employee.

This is irrespective of whether this amount is pre-tax, Roth after-tax, or a combination of both. 

In addition, Starbucks will only match the amount if it is paid into the savings account.

These amounts are calculated per pay period. 

4. Medical, Dental, and Vision

The company offers a comprehensive medical, dental, and vision plan for qualifying employees and their dependents.

The plan offers a variety of cover levels and insurance carriers. 

Being eligible for these benefits will depend on your role, hours worked, and the location of Starbucks

The company has paired with the World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) to offer transgender employees a health insurance policy that was previously considered to be cosmetic. 

Employees choose the cover and insurance provider that suits their individual needs. 

5. Life Insurance

All eligible Starbucks employees receive basic life insurance that pays out to the designated beneficiaries. 

Employees who work in the retail store automatically get coverage of $10,000. 

Retail management, shift supervisors, and non-retail partners, on the other hand, receive coverage that is one time the annual pay of that employee.

Furthermore, eligible employees qualify for additional Supplemental Life Insurance for themselves, their spouse/domestic partner, and child/ern.

As previously stated, in order to become eligible for these benefits, the employee must meet certain criteria that are related to the length of employment, the location of the store that they are employed at, as well as their specific role at the store. 

6. Paid Parental Leave

New parents who welcome a birth and are eligible for the benefit receive paid parental leave.

These include parents that give birth to, adopt, or foster children. 

The goal of this benefit is to give eligible employees time off to recover from childbirth as well as time to bond with their new child.

The amount of time an employee receives as part of their paid parental leave will depend on the position of the employee.

In addition, the amount will equal 100% of the employees’ average pay. 

Retail hourly, shift managers, and retail management employees receive six weeks of paid leave as well as 12 weeks of unpaid leave while non-retail employees receive up to 12 weeks of paid leave, while those that give birth will receive an additional 6 or 8 weeks depending on the method of childbirth. 

7. Food and Beverage Benefit

Employees working in company-owned stores are eligible to receive one beverage during a break and also half an hour after the end of the shift and before the beginning of a shift, as well as one food item from the pastry or ready-to-eat case per shift. 

Cons of Being a Starbucks Employee

The following disadvantages are based on employee experiences and opinions.

1. Pay

While previously mentioned as an advantage, many Starbucks employees feel that the salary earned from working at this company simply isn’t enough to sustain a family or a household. 

For younger employees, who do not have obligations such as bills to pay, kids to feed, and a home to run, the salary per hour may suffice.

In addition, the salary of a barista is among the lowest in the US. 

2. Hours of Work

This is, in fact, a double-edged sword, and experiences may differ from one store to another.

But in general, hours of work seem to be a concern for many employees that work at Starbucks.

On the one hand, employees are not guaranteed hours.

This means that an employee may work from as little as 10 hours a week up to 25 hours a week or more.

But, this will depend on the store, the management of the store, and the amount of labor hired by the specific store.

This is a cause for concern because, in order for employees to remain eligible for certain benefits, they are required to fulfill a minimum number of working hours.

Many managers try to accommodate these employees to ensure that they are able to remain eligible for their benefits. 

At the other end of the scale, some employees feel that the hours they are scheduled to work are simply too much and that most of their time is spent at the retail store.

For example, some stores run 24 hours a day while others close as late as 11:00 p.m.

3. Difficult to Learn Menu

If you have ever been to a Starbucks store or worked at one, you will understand what this means. 

On average, new employees take around six months to learn all the basic drinks.

In addition to this, Starbucks has seasonal drinks that the staff is required to master as well.

And, on top of that, employees must learn drink orders for new specialty drinks designed for specific events. 

Many employees have spoken out about how overwhelming the menu can be. 

4. Insufficient Staff

Starbucks is world-renowned and its stores grow exponentially fast after initially opening.

There have been several incidents of staff complaining about being short-staffed and not receiving support as the store grows. 

Most stores schedule staff to accommodate what is known as the “rush”, a period of heightened traffic in the store.

This rush will differ from store to store.

After the rush, many of the employees are cut for the remainder of the shift, leaving the remaining staff to struggle if and when there is another unexpected rush.

5. Customers

This negative is true for any retail food chain store.

There are great customers and then there are rude, entitled, arrogant customers.

It is part and parcel of the job.

However, when employees are exposed to this kind of treatment over and over again on a daily basis, it can have a very negative effect on their overall morale. 

Keep in mind, that this is not necessarily directly linked to working at Starbucks, but to working in the fast-food chain industry as a whole. 

6. Policies and Changes

Starbucks is an ever-evolving company.

And, in order to keep up with the needs of its target market, the company consistently introduces changes to meet the needs of the clientele. 

However, this may have a draining effect on staff who are required to stay up to date with all changes and policy changes.

Many employees have voiced their concern and unhappiness with the constant change. 

7. Fast-Paced Work Environment

Due to the popularity of Starbucks, it is expected that stores are very busy most of the time.

This, unfortunately, leaves staff in a constant fight or flight scenario where they are unable to cope with the rush.

Pros and Cons of Working at Starbucks – Summary Table

Pros of Being a Starbucks EmployeeCons of Being a Starbucks Employee
Pay For TuitionPay
Stock OptionsHours of Work
Future Roast 401(k)Difficult to Learn Menu
Medical, Dental, and VisionInsufficient Staff
Life InsuranceCustomers
Paid Parental LeavePolicies and Changes
Food and Beverage BenefitFast-Paced Work Environment

Should You Become a Starbucks Employee

The company offers great benefits.

It may be more suited to younger individuals who are just starting out their careers and looking for an entry-level job opportunity. 

Younger employees are often more energetic and can easily cope with the rush that this store is famous for.

Having taken all the disadvantages and advantages into account, there seem to be far more benefits associated with working at Starbucks and the disadvantages come down to personal experience. 

The education and health benefits alone outweigh the disadvantages.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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